Originally created 03/15/04

Raptors top Hawks



TORONTO -- Jalen Rose returned from a hand injury two weeks earlier than expected. Despite wearing a protective wrap, he still found his shooting touch.

Rose scored 23 points in his first game in over a month, shooting 7-for-8 in the fourth quarter to help the Toronto Raptors defeat the Atlanta Hawks 101-84 Sunday.

Rose missed 16 games with four broken bones in his left hand and had not played since undergoing surgery Feb. 10.

"One whack here and it could be a big-time setback, but it's a chance I'm willing to take," he said.

After going 3-for-12 from the field in the first three quarters, Rose scored 13 straight points to give Toronto an 84-70 lead. His 3-pointer and fadeaway jumper gave the Raptors an 18-point lead - their biggest of the game - with 6:42 remaining.

"I just wanted to be a part of the battle. Obviously, when you drop 13 of 15 it's must-win territory at this point of the season," said Rose, who also had seven assists and seven rebounds.

Vince Carter scored 32 points for the Raptors, who won for just the third time in the last 16 games. The Raptors began the day in 11th place in the Eastern Conference.

"I admire Rose for coming back two weeks early. He's probably in a lot of pain and probably a little out of shape, but that guy came back two weeks early and played 41 minutes," Toronto coach Kevin O'Neill said. "He wants to win and that says a lot about him as a person and a basketball player."

Rookie Chris Bosh added 16 rebounds and 11 points for the Raptors.

Atlanta's Jason Collier had 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Stephen Jackson and Chris Crawford each scored 18.

Carter had 17 points in the first quarter, staking Toronto to a 10-point lead. Atlanta took the lead in the second quarter as Toronto went scoreless over the first six minutes, but Toronto finished the half with a 10-4 run to take a 54-44 lead.

"They have two top players in Jalen and Vince and they're hard to stop," Crawford said. "They have shooters, so it's hard to double, and that was the key to the game. We doubled, and they hit threes, and when we didn't they were just scoring."

Notes: The Raptors placed forward Robert Archibald on the injured list with a sore lower back. ... Corie Blount, signed by the Raptors on Friday, had five rebounds and no points in 12 minutes. ... Jackson also had 10 rebounds for his third straight double-double.