Bosh helps Raptors even series with NetsApr 25, 2007 - 4:01 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- In a must-win situation, the Toronto Raptors turned to their marquee player.
Chris Bosh scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Raptors outlasted the New Jersey Nets, 89-83, to even their first-round playoff series at one game apiece.
It was a triumphant day all around for Toronto, which learned earlier on Tuesday that coach Sam Mitchell was named the NBA Coach of the Year.
"It's a little embarrassing to make too much out of me, it's more about these guys in the locker room," Mitchell said. "The best part other than winning the basketball game was when the presentation (for Coach of the Year) and those guys came out because we really care about each other. I work them hard but they also know how much I care about them."
The 6-11 Bosh finished 10-of-20 from the floor and scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half.
"That's kind of my job," Bosh said. "Everyone was telling me how it was time to try and take over the game and I just wanted to be aggressive. I knew that I could get a jump shot at any time but I wanted to work on getting to the basket."
Anthony Parker had 26 points and T.J. Ford added seven of his 13 in the final 2:45 as Atlantic Division champion Toronto gained a much-needed split at home.
"Nobody wants to go down 0-2, then everyone would be questioning us about our season and all that," Ford said. "We did a good job to come out tonight and get the win and now we go to Jersey and hopefully get both wins, but the main thing is to come back with home-court advantage. I'm pretty determined to get out of this first round, I've been here twice."
Vince Carter led the Nets with 19 points and 11 boards but again struggled against his former team, making just 8-of-24 shots. In Game One, Carter was 5-of-19 and jeered repeatedly by the crowd at Air Canada Centre.
"I feel good ... but my shots were long, which is something I can adjust," Carter said. "I know that I was shooting the right shots, shooting correctly just didn't fall."
Trailing, 68-63, with just under 10 minutes remaining, the Nets went on a 15-6 run that featured six points from reserve Bostjan Nachbar and was capped by Jason Kidd's 3-pointer for a 78-74 lead with 3:40 to play.
After Bosh hit two free throws, Ford buried a huge 3-pointer to give the Raptors a 79-78 lead with 2:45 left.
"He told me he was going to shoot the three and he wasn't going to miss it," Bosh said "He works on his shot a lot in practice and people don't think he can shoot the three, but he is one of those big-time players when the pressure gets tight, he is able to step up and make shots."
New Jersey's Richard Jefferson, who was held scoreless in the opening half, answered with a finger roll and nailed a 3-pointer to put the Nets in front, 83-82, with 46 seconds left.
That put the ball in the hands of point guard Ford, and the 82-percent free-throw shooter hit four straight from the line for an 86-83 lead with 15 seconds left.
"Just being aggressive at the right time," Ford said. "I think I just picked my spot and at the right time made the right decision, got to the free-throw line and knocked them down."
Nachbar, who provided a huge boost off the bench with 17 points, missed a tying 3-point attempt from the corner and Parker sealed it with one free throw with 8.1 seconds left.
Parker had a superb all-around game, hitting 3-of-4 3-pointers to go with eight rebounds and four steals, including a strip of Carter with 2 1/2 minutes to play.
"Fortunately for me tonight I got some looks early and got into a good rhythm and was able to knock some shots down," Parker said. "This was a game that we had to have."
Kidd had 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Nets, who ended up 10-of-23 from the arc.
The first quarter was a purist's nightmare as neither team shot 30 percent and the Raptors led, 14-12, which represented a franchise low for the Nets in the first quarter of the playoffs.
New Jersey was 5-of-17 (29 percent) while Toronto was even worse, making just 5-of-22 (23 percent).
"The whole game offensively we just weren't able to make shots," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "You've got to give Toronto a lot of credit. They played extremely hard, there's a reason why me missed shots. They affected them and so it's unfortunate."
NEW JERSEY 83
TORONTO 89 FINAL
Apr 24 9:24 PM
NEW JERSEY 63
TORONTO 58 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 24 8:49 PM
NEW JERSEY 36
TORONTO 33 HALFTIME
Apr 24 8:04 PM
NEW JERSEY 12
TORONTO 14 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 24 7:33 PM
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