for this game

Bargnani, Ukic help Raptors edge Spurs

Feb 12, 2009 - 5:13 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- With Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon out and Joey Graham forced to leave early due to injury, the Toronto Raptors turned to an unlikely source when crunch time rolled around.

Andrea Bargnani scored nine of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and rookie Roko Ukic added a career-high 22 as the Raptors edged the San Antonio Spurs, 91-89, on Wednesday.

With Bargnani heavily guarded and Toronto trailing, 89-88, Ukic started at the top of the key and crossed over on Tony Parker, driving the lane before lifting up and draining a seven-foot runner to give the Raptors their first lead of the quarter with 20 seconds left.

"The play got busted, he couldn't make the pass the way we wanted to," Toronto interim coach Jay Triano said. "He just did a great job tonight. He did a nice job of getting in and finishing the play."

"Roko had an unbelievable game," Bargnani said. "That last shot - for a rookie to make that shot is not easy."

Ukic had drained a 3-pointer 29 seconds earlier to pull Toronto within 89-88.

"I haven't got a problem with confidence," Ukic said. "That is something you can't buy, you can't get it. I'm a guy that feels a little pressure at the beginning to make one good move in the first couple of minutes and not to go out after three minutes and feel like I didn't do anything."

"They made big shots," Parker said. "After my two free throws we were up four. We wanted to trap the pick and roll and play good defense on Jermaine O'Neal. We left Ukic for the three, and he's 20 percent on the year, that's what we wanted but he made it. And then he made another big shot. He came up big for Toronto."

O'Neal split a pair of free throws with seven seconds left to provide the winning margin.

The Raptors used only eight players as Bosh nursed a strained right knee and Calderon sat out due to his nagging right hamstring - an injury that forced him to miss 10 games last month. Graham, who has been starting with Bosh out, left early in the second quarter with a bruised shin.

"It was very important for us to win this game after all of the bad games we've had," Bargnani said. "We won (Tuesday) in Minnesota and came back and won against a very good team. It was a great win for us. Without Jose and CB (Bosh) and they had everybody, so that makes it a great win for us."

San Antonio held a 77-69 lead with 7:43 remaining after Tim Duncan's layup, but Bargnani scored seven points and Ukic added a pair of free throws during a 9-3 run that made it 80-78 with 4:24 to play.

Duncan split a pair of free throws and Manu Ginobili hit a layup to push the lead back to five, but the Raptors continued to chip away.

Ginobili scored 32 points off the bench and Parker, who missed a floater at the buzzer that would have sent the game to overtime, finished with 22 points for the Spurs, who fell to 3-2 on their nine-game road trip.

"It's a really tough one," Ginobili said. "For most of the game we had it under control, but down the stretch we just couldn't score any more and they made some great plays - two threes and then Ukic hit another big shot. NBA players tend to underestimate players coming from Europe but I know him from the Olympics and I know he is capable of a game like that."

Jason Kapono added 21 points and Anthony Parker chipped in 10 for the Raptors, who have won two straight since losing six in a row.

"A lot of guys came up big for them tonight," Parker said. "They made a lot of big shots. It happens. We've won a lot of close games this year but it's the NBA, so sometimes you're going to lose games like that."