Calderon, Bargnani help Raptors edge Nets to stay aliveMay 2, 2007 - 5:50 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Trailing in the playoffs, and with their point guard injured, the Toronto Raptors looked to reserve Jose Calderon to lead the way.
Calderon scored a career-high 25 points and rookie Andrea Bargnani added 18 as the Raptors stayed in contention in their Eastern Conference first-round series against the New Jersey Nets with a 98-96 victory in Game Five on Tuesday.
Anthony Parker had 18 points and Morris Peterson added 17 for Toronto, which bounced back after suffering a pair of double-digit road losses and trails the series, 3-2.
"We shot the ball well," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "We tapered off some in the second half, which is to be expected, but we just found a way to win the basketball game."
Game Six will be in New Jersey on Friday.
"We know it's not going to be easy, but we just have to keep going," Raptors forward Chris Bosh said. "We have nothing to lose right now, our backs are against the wall."
Calderon came through with a clutch performance after T.J. Ford was hurt at the end of the first period. The 6-3 Spaniard took over at the point and scored 10 of his total in the second quarter for the Raptors, who took a 59-42 lead at halftime.
"After losing T.J., I thought Jose was unbelievable," Mitchell said.
The 6-0, 165-pound Ford was hurt when Nets forward Vince Carter landed on his upper torso scrambling for a loose ball near the end of the first period.
The fourth-year point guard was taken to the bench to receive treatment during a timeout and returned briefly to split a pair of free throws. After the quarter ended, Ford was taken to an area hospital, suffering stinging sensations in both arms. He was released and was back on the bench in street clothes in the final period.
"All tests were negative and T.J. is going to be re-evaluated in the morning," Raptors media relations director Jim Labumbard said. "He went home to rest as he was still feeling a stinger and tingling sensations in both arms. His status for Game Six is unknown at the present time."
"T.J.'s a warrior so hopefully he'll be back in time for Friday," Bosh added.
Calderon, who shot 12-of-20 from the field, also added eight assists for Toronto, which held a 79-67 advantage entering the final period.
"Calderon is a starting point guard playing in a backup role and that is one of the reasons why they (Raptors) are so good," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said.
However, New Jersey rallied in the fourth, closing to within one point with under 30 seconds left. Jason Kidd stripped Calderon on a drive and passed to Carter, whose 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 28 seconds remaining cut the Nets' deficit to 95-94. Calderon sprained his ankle on the turnover and sat out the final moments of the contest.
"Jose has been taken to the hospital for diagnostic testing on his right ankle," Labumbard said. "He is suffering from a right ankle sprain and his status is unknown for Game Six."
After Bosh made two free throws to put the Raptors ahead, 97-94, a follow shot by Mikki Moore off Carter's miss reduced the lead to 97-96 with 17 ticks on the clock. Bosh then split a pair of free throws before a 3-point attempt by New Jersey's Bostjan Nachbar bounced off the front of the rim as time expired.
The Raptors raced out of the gates early behind Bargnani. The first overall selection in 2006 was perfect from the field in the first quarter, scoring 13 points on 4-of-4 shooting.
"In the first game I was nervous but not tonight," Bargnani said. "I hit the first shot and I just shot if I had an open look."
The 7-footer made both of his 3-pointers and connected on all three free throws, giving Toronto a commanding 33-13 lead entering the second period.
"Andrea gave us a great lift," Parker said. "He came out and hit shots and helped give us a pretty good lead. Obviously being at home in front of our fans, we fed off their energy and used it defensively and offensively by making lots of shots."
Parker also had a strong first quarter, posting 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting and nailing all five attempts from the charity stripe. The Raptors shot 65 percent (11-of-17) while the Nets were just 5-of-19.
"Andrea and Mo (Morris Peterson) played unbelievable, and AP (Anthony Parker) was great," Mitchell said.
Carter had eight points for New Jersey, but his teammates hit only two other shots in the period.
"We were just on our heels, we weren't aggressive and they were," Kidd said.
Toronto opened the large lead despite receiving zero points in the quarter from Bosh, who sat most of the first half after collecting two early fouls. Bosh, who finished with 11 points and eight boards, played just over 9 1/2 minutes in the first half, tallying two points.
Carter scored 30 points and Richard Jefferson added 23 for the Nets, who shot 44 percent (32-of-72).
"Now we have to regroup and go back and defend our territory," Frank said. "Just like we jumped on them at home, they jumped on us."
Kidd had 11 points seven rebounds and 10 assists for New Jersey, which fell to 8-2 in potential playoff close-out games since Kidd arrived before the 2001-02 season.
NEW JERSEY 96
TORONTO 98 FINAL
May 1 9:54 PM
NEW JERSEY 67
TORONTO 79 END, 3RD QTR
May 1 9:09 PM
NEW JERSEY 42
TORONTO 59 HALFTIME
May 1 8:20 PM
NEW JERSEY 13
TORONTO 33 END, 1ST QTR
May 1 7:39 PM
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