for this game

Calderon lifts Raptors over Bucks

Nov 2, 2008 - 6:03 AM By Dave Cotey PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Jose Calderon is thriving as the Toronto Raptors' starting point guard.

The fourth-year guard from Spain, who had 25 points and nine assists, hit the game-winning 3-pointer with just under 22 seconds left as the Raptors posted a 91-87 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.

Chris Bosh added 20 points and 10 rebounds and Jamario Moon scored 15 as the Raptors remained unbeaten, posting their third straight triumph to start the season.

"I knew I had to step forward," Calderon said. "It was nice, because I was tired, too, because of the last game. This team, last season, we lose that game by 12 or 13 points. But we've made a chance. That won't happen no more."

Michael Redd scored 19 points and Charlie Villanueva added 16 for the Bucks, who had their five-game, home-opener winning streak snapped.

Calderon, who started 56 games a year ago but often backed up T.J. Ford, is averaging 18.0 points and 9.6 assists in three starts this season. He assumed the starting role when Ford was dealt to Indiana in a package of players for center Jermaine O'Neal.

Calderon, who helped Spain win the silver medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, had 16 points and 13 assists in the Raptors' 112-108 overtime win over Golden State on Friday.

On Saturday, he scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting along with five assists in the first half. Calderon made 8-of-15 shots on the night, but none bigger than his three late in the fourth quarter.

"If they're going to let you shoot, leave you open, Jose is a very capable shooter," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "His first instinct is to run the offense and get the ball to his teammates, but we all told him, after he turned down his first shot, you've got to shoot the basketball. If you read the newspapers this morning, they all talked about making a conscious effort to stop Jermaine and Chris."

The Bucks trailed for much of the second half but pulled within 75-71 on rookie Luc Richard Mbah a Moute's fast-break dunk with 7:06 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The two teams traded free throws to make it 76-72 before Andrew Bogut scored six of the game's next eight points and forced a steal that led to a shot in the paint by Richard Jefferson that gave the Bucks an 80-79 lead with 3:03 left.

"We felt like we could have done a little better job, but we'll be OK," Jefferson said. "This is our third game playing together."

Bosh answered with a bucket underneath to make it 81-80 in favor of Toronto, but Ramon Sessions drove the length of the floor and scored a layup to put Milwaukee back up by one. Moon gave Toronto a two-point cushion with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2:04 left.

"Somebody's going to step up," Moon said. "We've got 13 guys on this team. You've got to be ready when your number is called."

But Sessions got one of those points back with a free throw that cut it to 84-83.

The Bucks took an 85-84 lead when Mbah a Moute scored over Bosh in the lane with 37.5 left, but Calderon answered with his big three on an assist by Bosh.

"I was ready. He knows me and I know him," Calderon said. "I know when he's going to look for me. He passed me the ball, and I was ready for that jumper for five seconds before I received the pass."

Redd missed a baseline jumper with 11 ticks left and Moon made a pair of free throws at the other end to give Toronto an 89-85 advantage.

"Everybody on this team is starting to grow up," Bosh said. "We're confident on the defensive end. We knew we could make stops. We didn't shoot a great percentage, but our defense kept us in the game."

After taking a 41-39 lead into intermission, the Raptors pulled away slightly with a 12-0 run in the third quarter and built their lead to a game-high 13 points at 63-50 with 4:19 left in the quarter. Calderon and O'Neal scored four points apiece during the run.

"We kind of had a total meltdown in the third quarter and allowed them to get a lead," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "Our ball movement came to a standstill and our defense softened up at the same time."