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 Bargnani scores 27 as Raptors end losing streak

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PostSubject: Bargnani scores 27 as Raptors end losing streak   Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:22 pm

TORONTO(AP) Two huge third-quarter dunks from
Shawn Marion put the Toronto Raptors on the road to a rout. Andrea
Bargnani and Chris Bosh took care of the rest.Bargnani scored 27
points, Bosh had 15 points and 13 rebounds and the Raptors used a big
second half to beat the Indiana Pacers 110-87 on Sunday, snapping a
seven-game losing streak with their biggest margin of victory this
season."We really need to take something from it,'' Bosh said.
"This time we can take a positive from this whole game instead of
trying to make something good out of a loss.''Pops Mensah-Bonsu
scored a career-high 21 points and Jose Calderon added 15 points and 12
assists for Toronto, which had not won since a 118-110 home victory
over Minnesota on Feb. 24."We just needed to win,'' Calderon
said. "We've been playing better the last couple of games and we
couldn't finish. Today we played for 48 minutes and we have to keep
working from here.''The unheralded Mensah-Bonsu had four dunks among his five baskets, went 11-for-13 from the line and added eight rebounds."He
had the game of his life against us,'' Indiana swingman Danny Granger
said. "Hats off to him but we can't really let that happen.''Troy Murphy had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, with T.J. Ford adding 15 and Jarrett Jack 13."They
basically punched us in the face,'' Indiana's Jeff Foster said. "It's
embarrassing. We got beat in every phase of the game.''Granger
returned from an 11-game absence, coming off the bench in the first
quarter and finishing with 10 points in limited action."I played
18 minutes, I thought I had played 32,'' Granger said. "That's how it
feels but it will come around. It just takes a while to get back into
the rhythm.''Out since Feb. 18 because of a partially torn
tendon in his right foot, Granger is expected to start Wednesday when
the Pacers host Portland.The Pacers shot 19-for-43 in the first half but fell apart in the second, going 13-for-42."They
played a really great game. They just pounded us in every area,''
Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "We had no answer for them today.''Indiana, which entered play Sunday two games out of the East's final playoff spot, has dropped three straight and four of five."What
a bad second half we produced,'' Ford said. "It's tough when we're
fighting for a playoff spot. In the second half our effort was awful.''Marion
scored the highlight basket of the game, taking a pass from Bargnani
and soaring over Granger for a one-handed fast-break dunk in the third,
then heading to the line to complete the three-point play. Marion
converted an alley-oop pass from Calderon on the next possession,
putting Toronto up 73-63 and forcing the Pacers to call timeout."I've
been telling him I want to see some of those highlights I used to see
when he was in Phoenix,'' Mensah-Bonsu said. "He keeps telling me he's
old but I told him he's still got it and, like you saw today, he still
does.''Bosh sensed that Marion's explosive spurt would be enough
to turn the tide in Toronto's favor, and made sure he told his
teammates."I said that was the turning point,'' Bosh said.
"Everybody had a lot of energy. You could feel it in the crowd, you
could feel it from us and I just told everybody, 'Hey, we've got to
keep this going. We really have to take advantage of this.'''Marion scored all 10 of his points in the third as the Raptors outscored the Pacers 37-19 to take a 90-69 edge into the fourth."Everything that could have gone wrong for us out there happened in that third quarter,'' Murphy said.Indiana
led 26-24 after the first and opened a 44-37 lead with 5:23 left in the
half before the Raptors rallied. Bargnani's 3-pointer with 1:50 left
put Toronto in front. Bargnani shot 6-for-7 in the half and scored 16
points as the Raptors closed the second on a 14-3 run to lead 53-50 at
the break.Notes: Tickets to Sunday's game featured a photo of
former Pacers center Jermaine O'Neal. The six-time All-Star was
acquired by Toronto last summer but traded to Miami last month. ... The
Raptors celebrated their final home game before St. Patrick's Day by
wearing green uniforms, including green and white shoes. ... Toronto
set a season-high in rebounds, outrebounding Indiana 55-38. ... The
Pacers shot 9-for-31 from 3-point range. ... Indiana is 9-28 on the
road.

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