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Raptors hold off Sonics

Mar 9, 2008 - 9:14 PM TORONTO (Ticker) -- After almost squandering a comfortable lead, the Toronto Raptors took care of business at home against the Seattle SuperSonics.

Anthony Parker scored a team-high 23 points as the Raptors held on for an 114-106 victory over the SuperSonics on Sunday.

Trying to retain their playoff position in the Eastern Conference, the Raptors have struggled without All-Star forward Chris Bosh, who missed his fifth straight game with a sore right knee.

"Missing Chris has been tough because he's the one who creates open shots for us by demanding double-teams," said Toronto guard Carlos Delfino, who added 15 points off the bench.

Parker registered eight points during the decisive third quarter when the Raptors outscored the Sonics, 35-21, to take an 89-79 lead into the final period.

"We came out with a better attitude in the second half and were able to get some stops and hit some shots," Parker said. "We got some good looks and a lot of them went down."

Toronto, which improved to 2-3 without Bosh, extended its advantage to 101-86 before Seattle made a belated run, pulling within 103-98 with 3:46 remaining.

Seattle started well as Chris Wilcox and Kevin Durant keyed an early 10-0 spurt that helped the Sonics grab a 31-24 lead after the opening period.

Wilcox scored 11 of his 28 points and Durant added nine of his 20 in the quarter. The Sonics then led by as many as 12 in the second quarter before Toronto closed within 58-54 at the half.

"In the second half they came out with a lot of energy," Durant said. "We just weren't able to match it, and they knocked down some big-time shots."

Seattle shot 65 percent (22-of-34) in the opening half but the Toronto converted 13 first-half turnovers into 20 points.

"The turnovers definitely hurt us," Wilcox said. "We kept giving up the basketball, and they hit almost every shot in that third quarter."

Rasho Nesterovic scored a season-high 17 points for Toronto, and Andrea Bargnani chipped in 12 of his 16 in the second half.

"Rasho has been playing really well since we put him back in the starting lineup after Chris went down," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said.

"He has stepped up big with his leadership, he communicates on defense and is smart enough to pick and choose when to try and score."

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