Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/9

Game 1: Sunday, December 9th
Rockets80Final
Raptors93
Game 2: Saturday, December 29th
Raptors79Final
Rockets91

Rockets 80

(11-10, 6-7 away)

Raptors 93

(11-10, 7-5 home)

    Coverage: KTXH

    12:30 PM ET, December 9, 2007

    Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON

    1 2 3 4 T
    HOU 22 23 11 2480
    TOR 16 18 28 3193

    Top Performers

    Houston: T. McGrady 23 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

    Toronto: C. Bosh 21 Pts, 10 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 4 Blk

    Bosh finishes with double-double after missing five games

    TORONTO (AP) -- Chris Bosh returned to the lineup with a bang, one big enough to erase a double-digit halftime deficit.

    After five games on the bench, Bosh shook off a strained groin to play 41 minutes, scoring 21 points and adding 10 rebounds as the Toronto Raptors beat the Houston Rockets 93-80 Sunday.

    "I wanted to come back when the time was right and I felt the time was right today," Bosh said. "It was a big game and a game at home, most importantly. The past two days [the groin] has been pretty good in my workout. I just wanted to come out and give it a go."

    Toronto's Kris Humphries added 16 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Carlos Delfino had 12 points, Anthony Parker added 11 and Jason Kapono 10.

    Former Raptor Tracy McGrady had 23 for Houston, while Yao Ming scored 15 and Bonzi Wells had 12.

    Toronto trailed by 14 in the first quarter and was down 45-34 at the half, but turned the game around with an explosive third, opening with a 12-4 run that cut the gap to three at 49-46.

    "We knew that we had to come out in the third quarter with a bang," Bosh said. "We just wanted to make a push early."

    The Raptors kept up the charge, tying it at 52 on a jumper by Parker, then taking their first lead of the game at 3:52 on a jump-hook from Rasho Nesterovic. Once in front, the Raptors never trailed again.

    Humphries said Bosh's return gave the Raptors a boost.

    "We feed off his energy," Humphries said. "Him coming in and being aggressive, giving us that many minutes after having not played, it's great."

    Bosh was only too glad to lift his teammates' sprits.

    "I want everybody to play with confidence," Bosh said. "That's the major thing that I saw was missing when I was out. It's not about what I bring to the table, it's about us feeding off of each other and making each other play hard."

    Bosh made his presence felt on the opening possession by blocking a shot by Steve Francis. He was at it again late in the fourth, racing back to block McGrady on a layup.

    The way we played in the second half is the way they played in the first half," McGrady said. "We had energy in the first half and they didn't. When the game really counted, they had a lot more energy than we did, they did a better job of executing and that's why they won."

    The Rockets made just four of 16 shot attempts in the third, scoring 11 points. Houston coach Rick Adelman said his team was "stagnant."

    "They really got us back on our heels," Adelman said. "They were an aggressive team the whole second half and we didn't have an answer for it."

    Even with Bosh back, the Raptors got off to a poor start, making only one of their first 10 field goal attempts. They trailed 16-2 midway through the first after the Rockets nailed their first four 3-pointers.

    As Toronto's shooters began to find their range, the Raptors clawed their way back with a 10-1 run to trail 22-16 after 12 minutes.

    Despite giving away several pounds and inches, Nesterovic and Humphries did a good job of controlling Yao, who went 5-for-10 and had only six rebounds.

    "We've just got to be aggressive and take him out of what he's doing," Humphries said. "It's a tough assignment, but sometimes it's better to be quick."

    Rockets guard Rafer Alston (strained groin) missed his first game of the season and without him, Houston struggled to move the ball, matching a season-low with 15 assists.

    "Rafer is a big loss for us," McGrady said. "He provides a guy that controls the tempo. He's a great floor general, very smart basketball player and we kind of miss that."

    Houston started the season 6-1 but has gone 5-9 since, a slide Adelman blamed on a schedule that has seen the Rockets play 13 of their first 21 games away from home.

    "We're on the road all the time," Adelman said. "It's a little bit different than being home. You've got a totally different atmosphere. We haven't been consistent in the way we've played."

    Game notes


    Toronto forward Andrea Bargnani (hyperextended knee) missed his fourth straight game but is expected to resume practicing on Monday. ... Jerry Colangelo, father of Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo, attended the game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    HOU
    TOR
    Points 80 93
    FGM-FGA 28-70 (.400) 36-86 (.419)
    3PM-3PA 7-19 (.368) 3-9 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 17-24 (.708) 18-23 (.783)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-20 9-27
    Assists 15 23
    Turnovers 15 10
    Steals 5 7
    Blocks 7 7
    Fast Break Points 2 11
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/1) 19 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 14 17

    Top Performers

    Houston
    Toronto
    Tracy McGrady McGrady
    Points: 23
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Chris Bosh Bosh
    Points: 21
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 4