With an Eastern Conference playoff berth in danger of slipping away, the Toronto Raptors are hoping Chris Bosh continues to recover quickly from his recent seven-game absence.
Perhaps facing the Sacramento Kings will help the All-Star forward return to form.
Bosh seeks his second excellent performance against the Kings this season Wednesday night, when the visiting Raptors try to bounce back from a demoralizing loss and avoid their seventh defeat in eight games.
The Raptors (32-30) had won 18 of 25 before Bosh sprained his left ankle. They went 3-4 in his absence, with the wins coming at the expense of three struggling clubs -- New Jersey, Washington and New York. Toronto has also dropped both games since Bosh's return, including a heartbreaking 109-107 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night to open a four-game Western road trip.
Bosh hit a rare 3-pointer -- his eighth of the season and second of the contest -- to tie the game with 10 seconds remaining, but Lakers star Kobe Bryant answered, draining a game-winning 17-foot fallaway jumper with 1.9 seconds left.
"It's always tough bouncing back (from injury), but I just wanted to get a feel, and I didn't want to force anything," said Bosh, who finished with a team-best 22 points.
The Raptors remained sixth in the East after the loss, but are only 1 1/2 games ahead of ninth-place Chicago. As recently as Feb. 20, Toronto had a 4 1/2-game cushion for a playoff spot.
Bosh, who had 12 points and 12 rebounds Sunday in a 114-101 home loss to Philadelphia, enters this contest averaging career highs in points (24.3), rebounds (11.3) and field-goal percentage (52.3).
He helped those averages by scoring 36 points, shooting 14 of 18 and grabbing 11 rebounds in a 115-104 home win over Sacramento on Feb. 7. Andrea Bargnani added 22 points in the Raptors' third straight win over the Kings.
That defeat is part of an 8-29 stretch since Dec. 22 for Sacramento (21-43), including a 5-12 mark at Arco Arena in that span. The Kings will seek to improve upon that as they open the first of two five-game homestands over the season's final two months.
The Kings will also look to avoid a fourth straight loss after falling 88-81 in Portland on Tuesday night. Sacramento erased an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but got outscored 14-7 the rest of the way.
"Another game for us against a really good team where we had a chance to win in the last few minutes and came away dry,"coach Paul Westphal said.
Tyreke Evans scored 18 points to lead the Kings while Carl Landry added 17. Landry, whom the Kings acquired from Houston 11 days after last month's matchup with the Raptors, has totaled 47 points while shooting 17 for 22 from the field in his last two games versus Toronto.