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Calderon, Ford help Raptors race past Bobcats

Feb 25, 2007 - 5:37 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- All-Star Chris Bosh got some help from the Toronto Raptors' deadly duo.

Bosh scored all 24 of his points in the second half and the point guard tandem of T.J. Ford and Jose Calderon combined for 31 points as the Raptors posted their fourth win in their last five games, a 93-76 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Rookie Andrea Bargnani scored eight points and grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds for the Raptors, who snapped the Bobcats' franchise record-tying four-game winning streak.

"We were a little sluggish out there," Charlotte guard Raymond Felton said. "It was really slow and neither team was scoring that much. They came out to win but we can't think about that. We've got a tough road trip coming up, so we have to put this game behind us and get ready for Monday."

Toronto coach Sam Mitchell was happy with his team's effort.

"(The Bobcats) have been playing well," Mitchell said. "Coming in here on a back-to-back, not having a chance to prepare for them and being on the road, our guys did a nice job."

A starter in the All-Star Game last Sunday, Bosh continued his stellar season on Saturday, scoring all of his points after halftime. He shot 8-of-17 from the field and grabbed 11 rebounds overall.

"It's how much focus you have," Bosh said. "I always have a lot of focus if I don't play well in the first half. I want to make sure I stay calm and stay in the game without getting frustrated."

Bosh's second-half success could be directly linked to a third-quarter injury to Bobcats defensive stalwart Emeka Okafor, who left with a strained left calf.

"It was a difference, but I felt if it was going to happen, it was going to happen," Bosh said. "It was inevitable. He did a good job on me in the first half, but eventually I'm going to get it done."

However, the star forward was not alone.

"(The defenders) worry so much about me at the top of the key," Bosh said. "We have (Calderon and Ford) who are ready to knock down the shots."

With Toronto implementing an up-tempo style this season, the lightning-quick Ford and Calderon have been a perfect fit in the free-flowing offense. Forcing the pace all night, the duo got into the lane easily, connecting on a number of layups and short jumpers. They combined to shoot 13-of-25 from the floor.

"We have to be ready to play and try to run," Calderon said. "That gives us more space to play and get the ball in (Bosh's) hands."

Facing fellow highly touted rookie Adam Morrison, Bargnani shot just 2-of-6 from the field but was a force on the glass, showing some grit and an ability to run the floor. The top overall pick, Bargnani outplayed No. 3 selection Morrison, who scored just 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting.

Matt Carroll had 13 points and nine rebounds for Charlotte, which shot just 33 percent (27-of-82).

"We didn't get in any sort of rhythm tonight," Carroll said. "I don't think anybody on the team did. It was just one of those games where the ball wasn't dropping. We never got in a good offensive flow."

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