Blazers drop Raptors for fourth win in a row

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Juan Dixon feared the worst when Toronto's
Chris Bosh launched a potentially game-winning 3-pointer with .3
seconds left in a game that the Trail Blazers had led by as many as
17 points.

"I was right there and watched the whole time," said Dixon
after the Trail Blazers 96-94 victory on Wednesday night. "It
looked good -- just came up short."

Zach Randolph scored 22 points while Viktor Khryapa had 18
points and 12 rebounds for the improving Blazers, who have won four
straight for the first time since the 2003-2004 season.

"We'll take the four in a row -- however we can get it," Dixon

Emphasizing defense, Portland has gone 7-6 over the last 13
games -- following a stretch when it went just 2-11.

Bosh had 22 points and nine rebounds for Toronto, which took a
94-93 lead on his jumper with 30.9 seconds left.

The Blazers had gone cold in the fourth quarter. Randolph's two
foul shots made it 91-86 for the Blazers, but after Mike James
scored and Jalen Rose made a pair of free throws, Bosh hit a
go-ahead 9-foot jumper with one minute to go.

Randolph's layup put the Blazers back ahead, but Bosh answered
with a 5-foot bank shot.

With 21.6 seconds left, Morris Peterson fouled Dixon, who made
both his shots. James drove to Toronto's basket, but couldn't make
the shot and fouled Khryapa.

Khryapa missed his first free throw but made his second for the
final margin.

Bosh's 25-footer was just off.

"The play kinda broke," Bosh said. "I wanted to get an open
shot knowing (Portland center) Theo Ratliff is a good defender so I
just wanted to create some space and get a shot off.

"I got a clean shot. I thought it was good but it was just a
little short."

The Blazers had won three straight games against the Los Angeles
Lakers, Orlando Magic, and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Portland led 84-67 with 10:20 left in the fourth before the
Raptors went on a 25-7 run to take their first lead since midway
through the second quarter.

"When they got hot, I thought we tightened up a bit," Blazers
coach Nate McMillan said. "Finishing games in the fourth quarter
is something we've got to learn. It is part of a growing process
for a young team."

The Trail Blazers led by as many as eight points in the first
half, but the Raptors closed in and went up 40-37 on Joey Graham's
jumper. But Dixon answered with a 3-pointer to tie it back up, and
the Blazers went on to lead 52-49 at the break.

Toronto trailed despite shooting 67.9 percent (19-for-28) in the
first half.

After the game, coach Sam Mitchell had a lengthy closed-door
talk with his players.

"It's hard because when we do the things that we work on, we've
shown that it works," he said. "In a perfect world, we'd win
games like this."

The last time Portland won four straight was March 10-16, 2004.

Portland has won its last four home meetings with the Raptors,
who have not won at the Rose Garden since Jan. 2, 2002.

Game notes
The Raptors recalled forward Pape Sow from the Arkansas
RimRockers of the NBA Development League on Wednesday. Sow averaged
19.7 points and a league-best 11.6 rebounds in 18 games for
Arkansas. ... The Blazers have assigned two players, forward Sergei
Monia and guard Martell Webster to Fort Worth of the developmental
league. ... Blazers guard Sebastian Telfair collided with Matt
Bonner in the first half and needed three stitches in his lip. ...
Ruben Patterson did not dress for Wednesday night's game because of
a case of bronchitis. ... Khryapa's 12 rebounds were a career high.