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Parker, Calderon help Raptors clip Nets

Jan 29, 2009 - 6:15 AM By Carl Dispoto PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Nets have a pair of potential All-Stars in their backcourt, but the efficiency of the Toronto Raptors' guards was too much to handle.

Anthony Parker had 21 points and six assists and Jose Calderon added 17 and 11 as the Raptors held on for a 107-106 victory over the struggling Nets on Wednesday.

New Jersey's Devin Harris and Vince Carter are the highest-scoring backcourt in the league and both may wind up as All-Star reserves. But they were outdone by Parker and Calderon, who combined to make 14-of-25 shots from the floor, including 6-of-12 3-pointers, and hand out more than half of Toronto's 25 assists.

Carter scored 16 of his 27 points in the first quarter and Harris had 25 points and 10 assists, but the duo shot just 16-of-38 from the floor and were absent while the Raptors took control in the second half.

The Nets nearly erased a 12-point deficit in the final five minutes, pulling within 107-106 on a layup by Harris with 37 seconds left. Calderon missed a jumper with 21 seconds to go, giving Harris a chance to win the game.

Harris took the ball to the right wing and dribbled at defender Joey Graham. As Graham backpedaled, Harris pulled up for a wide-open 15 footer near the right elbow that came up short as time expired.

"That's my go-to move," Harris said. "I couldn't ask for anything more."

"We got the stop we needed and got down the court, we got what we wanted but the shot just didn't go down," Carter said.

Chris Bosh scored 18 points and Graham has 15 off the bench for the Raptors, who shot 56 percent (39-of-70) from the floor And made 11-of-22 3-pointers.

"We did not think we played that well," Toronto coach Jay Triano said. "We shot the ball well enough to stay in the game. And we found a way at the end, but we need to play a lot better."

Toronto has won three consecutive games for the first time since starting the season 3-0.

"We were looking for stretches of games like this," Graham said. "We needed games like this to get us back in the playoff run."

Keyon Dooling scored 17 points off the bench and Bobby Simmons added 16 for New Jersey, which offset some of its poor defense by making 15-of-32 3-pointers.

Toronto bridged the final two quarters with an 18-6 run and took a 90-80 lead on a layup by Graham with 9:49 remaining. Graham's three-point play with 4:47 to go gave the Raptors a 102-90 cushion and sent some fans heading for the exits.

But New Jersey responded with eight straight points as Simmons and Dooling buried 3-pointers around a pair of free throws from Harris. Bosh answered with a jumper and - after another 3-pointer by Simmons - made a pair of free throws for a 106-101 with 2:17 left.

Parker made 1-of-2 free throws 18 seconds later, but Carter's fifth 3-pointer made it 107-104 with 65 seconds to go. Rookie Brook Lopez blocked a layup by Bosh at the other end and Harris drove the other way for a layup to set up the final frenzied possessions.

"We were able to climb back, that's one thing we've done," Carter said. We've found ways to get back in games. I'm glad we were able to put ourselves in position to win."

Carter, who was held to a season-low three points on 0-of-13 shooting the last time his former team visited the IZOD Center, buried four 3-pointers in the opening 3 1/2 minutes as the Nets quickly jumped out to a double-digit lead.

Toronto shot 61 percent (19-of-31) from the floor in the first half but never have the lead as New Jersey made 8-of-19 3-pointers. The Raptors took their first lead on a 3-pointer by Parker less than a minute into the first half. They went ahead for good as Jason Kapono scored five points during a run of 10 straight points at the end of the third.