CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Toronto Raptors overcame their recent struggles by returning to what got them off to a strong start this season -- finding the open man.
"My teammates do a great job of finding the open guy," said Bosh, who scored 14 points in the fourth quarter when Toronto led by as many as 15. "That's what we're taught to do, and that's where we make our bread and butter. If we see a guy open, we have to get it to him."
Andrea Bargnani scored 18 points for the Raptors, including a key 3-pointer with less than six minutes to go that put Toronto ahead to stay.
"We just had to get back to believing in ourselves," Bosh said. "We kind of stopped talking about being a good team. ... We stopped demanding perfection from ourselves."
Bobcats rookie D.J. Augustin scored 11 of his 14 points in the second quarter in helping Charlotte take a 45-40 lead at the break. Jason Richardson and Raymond Felton had 12 points each, and Jared Dudley 10.
Gerald Wallace, the Bobcats' No. 2 scorer at 17.2 points per game, was held to six points on 2-of-11 shooting.
"If they do a good job on [Richardson] and Wallace, it's pretty tough for us," Charlotte head coach Larry Brown said.
Charlotte upped its lead to 58-47 on Richardson's layup with 7:11 remaining in the third quarter. But the Raptors closed the quarter with a 16-9 run to pull within 67-63.
"We had control of it, and we let them get away," Wallace said. "Late in that third quarter, they kind of took over the game. ... We just had trouble guarding them and they were able to get too many easy baskets."
The two sides then swapped the lead six times in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, with Richardson giving Charlotte its last lead at 74-72 on a 3-pointer with 7:58 left.
Bosh tied the game 30 seconds later with a layup, and Bargnani's 3-pointer from the top of the key with 5:53 left put Toronto ahead.
Bargnani also capped a 17-point run with another 3-pointer with 1:42 remaining that gave the Raptors an 89-74 margin, their biggest lead of the game.
"Andrea gave us a big lift," Toronto head coach Sam Mitchell said. "[And] our guys made the game easy for Chris. We got him some easy baskets for a change without him having to work so hard."
With the Bobcats struggling to find their range -- they hit just 3 of their first 15 shots -- Toronto appeared to take command midway through the first quarter, going on a 14-6 run to pull ahead 20-13 with 30 seconds left.
Charlotte, however, got right back into it with six unanswered points over the final 7 seconds to cut the Raptors' lead to 20-19, beginning with Emeka Okafor's layup.
Matt Carroll hit a free throw after Mitchell was called for a technical foul with 1.5 seconds left, and Felton hit three more free throws after he was fouled by Anthony Parker on a desperation 3-pointer from midcourt.
Augustin, the ninth overall pick in the June draft, then put the Bobcats ahead with his offensive surge in the second quarter.
He nailed a 3-pointer with 10:34 left to tie the game at 22-22, made another a minute later to put Charlotte up 27-24, and scored the Bobcats' final five points of the quarter.
"We had a horrible first quarter, but we managed to stay attached in the second quarter," Brown said. "We controlled the tempo and got good shots early in the third quarter. Then it seemed like we didn't stop them, and that was the difference."
Toronto was 4-for-17 on 3-pointers Sunday, extending its NBA-record streak of consecutive games with at least on 3 to 784 games. Calderon kept the Raptors' streak intact with his 3 from the corner with 6:47 left in the third quarter. ... Bosh became the second player in Toronto history to pass the 7,000-point mark in career scoring. He has 7,011 points, second behind Vince Carter, who scored 9,420 points between 1998-2004. ... Charlotte kept Sean May on the inactive list for a fifth straight game for what Brown had previously said were "conditioning issues." May only played in 58 games his first two seasons because of injuries, and missed the entire 2007-08 season after having surgery on his right knee.
- Joe DeRosa
- Brian Forte
- Jason Phillips