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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 3:32 p.m., Wednesday, January 7, 2009

NBA: Bargnani, Bosh lead 9-man Raptors past Wizards

AP Sports Writer

WASHINGTON Down to nine players, the Toronto Raptors still easily beat the worst-in-the-East Washington Wizards 99-93 on Wednesda

y night, with Andrea Bargnani scoring 25 points and Chris Bosh adding 18.

The crowd was sparse and the atmosphere dull for a game between two losing teams that fired their head coaches this season and are missing a half-dozen starters combined.

Toronto's 21-point lead was cut to as few as five in the fourth quarter, and the advantage was only six at 89-83 with a little more than 2 minutes left. But that's when Bosh set up Bargnani for a 3-pointer that effectively sealed the outcome.

Bargnani, the Italian who was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2006, went 4-for-5 on 3s, and 4-for-4 on other field-goal attempts. Bosh scored half his points in the fourth quarter and finished with eight rebounds and six assists.

Antawn Jamison scored a season-high 32 points for Washington.

The Raptors traded Hassan Adams to the Los Angeles Clippers in a money-saving move earlier in the day and were without three starters who did not travel to Washington: Jermaine O'Neal (right knee injury), Jose Calderon (right hamstring injury) and Jamario Moon (wife gave birth to a baby). Joey Graham got his first start of the season, and had five points and eight rebounds.

Washington, meanwhile, hasn't had Gilbert Arenas (left knee) or Brendan Haywood (right wrist) all season, and is without starting shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson, who has missed a week and is expected to be out at least another 1 weeks with a bad back.

The Wizards who upset LeBron James' Cavaliers on Sunday opened a stretch in which they play eight consecutive games against opponents whose records are currently below .500, a soft spot in the schedule they hoped to exploit.

Instead, the Wizards (7-27) might have hit a new low by falling to the short-handed Raptors (15-21).

Washington did not play well at all, committing two shot-clock violations in the game's first 10 minutes. The Wizards also missed a whole bunch of jump shots precisely the sort of laziness on offense that interim coach Ed Tapscott said was to blame for the franchise-record-low six points scored during a quarter in Tuesday's loss at Orlando.

Before facing Toronto, Tapscott looked back on the problems with offense against Orlando, saying: "We got seduced if I can use that word into trading jump shots with them. ... We fell into playing their game and that led to some disastrous results."

Nothing much changed Wednesday, even though Tapscott tried to motivate his players by promising a day without practice as a reward for a victory.

Toronto led by as many as 13 points in the first quarter and 27-16 when it ended, thanks to a 71-40 edge in shooting percentage.

Bargnani's 3-pointer with a little more than 4 minutes left in the first half made it 46-25, prompting Tapscott to call timeout and many in the announced crowd of 13,864 to boo. To that point, the Raptors were 6-for-11 on 3s, two apiece by Bargnani, Jason Kapono and Anthony Parker.

It was 50-38 at halftime, but no lead has been very safe in the Raptors' hands. They entered Wednesday having lost eight games in which they led by at least 10 points.

This time, though, they held on.


With seven rebounds, Jamison pushed his career total above 6,000, making him one of eight active players with that many boards and 14,000 points, joining Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace and Juwan Howard. ... Washington's Andray Blatche returned to the starting lineup after being demoted to a reserve Tuesday. ... Stevenson had a painkilling injection Wednesday.