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Bosh, Calderon help Raptors end Hornets' winning streak

Jan 1, 2008 - 5:13 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- The Toronto Raptors continued their recent dominance over the New Orleans Hornets to finish their road trip on a high note and end the Hornets' winning streak.

Chris Bosh scored 29 points and Jose Calderon added 17 and 12 assists as the Raptors held on for a 97-92 victory over the Hornets on Monday.

Anthony Parker chipped in 19 points for the Raptors, who ended their season-long seven-game road trip at 3-4 by winning for the fifth time in six games on the road against the Hornets. Toronto has also won eight of the past 10 overall against New Orleans.

"We're starting to play like a team again," Calderon said. "We're finding the open guy, showing more movement. We're better than we think, but it's long season and we've got to keep playing hard."

The loss ended the Hornets' second five-game winning streak of the season, despite the fact that New Orleans led by as many as 10 early in the fourth quarter.

"You would've liked for the trip to be a little better, but it could have been worse," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "A long trip like this, we just hung in there. Our players could have easily packed it in when we got down 10."

Leading by three points after the third, the Hornets scored the first seven points of the fourth to take their largest lead at 81-71 with just over nine minutes to play.

The Raptors answered with an 8-0 run of their own - keyed by four points from Bosh - to close within 81-79 with 6:42 remaining.

"The key was not panicking," Bosh said. "That started it for us. (New Orleans) made a run, but everybody was composed. The crowd got into the game, but we just calmed down and started making plays again."

With the Raptors trailing, 89-88, with just under two minutes to play, Bosh converted a three-point play and Calderon made a pair of free throws to give the Raptors a four-point bulge with 1:30 left.

After Morris Peterson made a 3-pointer, Chris Paul had a chance to tie or take the lead, but missed two free throws with 25 seconds left in the game.

Calderon made two more free throws with five seconds remaining and Peja Stojakovic's shot from the arc - to tie the game - was off the mark, giving Toronto the win.

"No excuses for those free throws," Paul said. "I wasn't tired. I tell Coach if I could play 48 minutes a game, I would. That was a tough way to end it."

Paul entered the game No. 7 in the NBA with a .904 free-throw percentage. He was 7-of-11 against Toronto, missing his last three attempts and missing four free throws in a game for just the second time in his three pro seasons.

"That was very surprising," Bosh said of Paul's free-throw problems. "He had been knocking those down all game. But sometimes it's a different situation with the clock winding down. I'm glad it didn't happen to us."

The Raptors made all nine of their free throw in the final period and outscored the Hornets, 26-11, over the final nine minutes of the game.

Toronto had led throughout the first half and was ahead by as many as 13 at 41-28 with 7:04 left in the second quarter.

However, the Hornets ended the first half on a 7-1 spurt to cut their deficit to 52-48 at the break. Peterson's 3-pointer gave New Orleans its first lead at 57-55 advantage with just under nine minutes to play in the third.

David West and Paul combined for 18 points in the third quarter as the Hornets maintained their slim margin with a 74-71 lead entering the fourth.

Paul finished with 23 points and 16 assists and West led the way with 33 points and 11 rebounds for the Hornets, who shot just 5-of-26 (19 percent) from 3-point range. Stojakovic had 19 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double of the season.

"We let this one get away," said West, who reached 20 points for a career-high-tying fifth straight game. "You have a team down 10, you're at home and there's under eight minutes to play. You've got to find a way to close that out.

"We've got to be the team playing with all the confidence, but they were the ones playing with confidence."

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