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Raptors leading scorer Bosh getting closer to return

TORONTO -- Raptors forward Chris Bosh missed his fourth
consecutive game Wednesday and Toronto lost 136-123 to the visiting Phoenix Suns.

Bosh, bothered by a strained groin, leads the Raptors with 18.8
points and 7.9 rebounds per game.

Forward Andrea Bargnani also missed his second straight
because of a hyperextended left knee suffered in Saturday's loss at
Washington. Bargnani is averaging 11.9 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Bosh is still unable to run at full speed, but said days of
stretching exercises have strengthened his groin.

"I've progressed a lot," he said. "A lot of things that were
hurting and I couldn't do, I'm now doing a better job of."

Guard T.J. Ford, who missed Monday's victory over Charlotte
because of lingering soreness in his left thumb, came off the bench and led the Raptors with 27 points on 12-of-19 shooting.

Ford suffered a stinger in his
left arm in a Nov. 20 collision with Dallas' Josh Howard, causing
him to miss five of Toronto's next seven games. Ford is averaging
13.2 points and 7.4 assists.

Pacific Division-leading Phoenix has won 11 of 13 and is
unbeaten in its last six against Toronto. The Raptors haven't
beaten the Suns since a 101-94 victory at Phoenix on Feb. 10, 2004.