Tuesday , Apr , 24 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Raptors even series with Nets

Toronto, ON (Sports Network) – Anthony Parker scored 26 points and T.J. Ford
hit two free throws with 39.5 seconds remaining to give Toronto the lead, as
the Raptors earned an 89-83 win over New Jersey, tying their Eastern
Conference quarterfinal series after two games.

Chris Bosh had 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Raptors, who bounced back
from a 96-91 loss on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre. Ford ended with 13
points.

“I think we played great defense,” Parker said. “We just weren’t getting those
shot to go our way and they executed. They hit some big shots down the
stretch, but we made some big plays ourselves and we were able to pull it
out.”

Former Raptor Vince Carter had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets, while
teammate Jason Kidd tallied 14 points, 11 boards and seven assists. Bostjan
Nachbar had 17 points and Richard Jefferson 13 on just 4-of-16 in a losing
cause.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Friday at Continental Airlines Arena.

Jefferson’s three-pointer boosted the Nets to an 83-82 lead with 46.6 seconds
left, but Ford was then fouled by Nachbar and converted both foul shots.

Jefferson then missed a jumper from the left wing and Ford made two more at
the line with 15.2 seconds to go.

New Jersey’s attempt to tie was off the mark, as Nachbar couldn’t connect on a
three from the left corner. Parker sealed the victory by making three free
throws over the final 8.1 seconds.

“I think in the end we had a wonderful opportunity,” Carter said. “We had a
lot of good shots that just didn’t fall down for us. Bostjan Nachbar had a
wonderful look at a three, but they (Raptors) just kept playing, kept coming,
and they got the job done.”

Toronto’s defense did a great job on Jefferson, who hit for 28 points on
Saturday, but struggled in Game 2.

“You look at the way we played and if you look at both games, we probably
dominated 80 percent of the two games,” Jefferson said. “We were fortunate to
come up here and get one, now have to go home and protect our home court.”

Both teams shot 40.8 percent from the field, but the Raptors came up big
defensively with nine steals, including four from Parker.

“We knew that we were going to have to come in and play tough defense,” Bosh
said. “We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we wanted to, but we didn’t let
that affect us because we continued to play good team defense and we kept our
guys in front of us.”

Prior to the game, NBA commissioner David Stern presented Toronto’s Sam
Mitchell the league’s Coach of the Year award, but the honor did little to
inspire the Raptors, at least offensively in the first quarter. It was a
period in which Toronto outscored the Nets, 14-12. The Raptors had the final
seven points of the stanza, ending it on Parker’s three at the buzzer.

The Raptors scored nine in a row in the second, taking a 25-18 lead. The Nets
then responded with nine straight, capped by Carter’s free throw with under
four minutes left in the quarter. Carter nailed a jumper just before the
buzzer, extending New Jersey to a 36-33 lead at the half.

Toronto opened the third on a 12-4 spurt, but the lead see-sawed back to the
Nets later in the period. Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani hit a double-clutch jumper
at the buzzer, but it was waved off, as the Nets held a 63-58 advantage going
into the fourth.

The Raptors began the fourth on a 10-0 spurt, capped by a Parker three, but
the Nets responded, tying the game at 70 on a Carter tip.

Kidd’s three moved New Jersey to a 78-74 lead with under four minutes left,
but Bosh responded with two foul shots and Ford nailed a three, giving Toronto
a 79-78 edge with less than three minutes to go.

Game Notes

The 12 points for the Nets in the first quarter is an all-time team low in the
playoffs for any quarter, and the least allowed by the Raptors ever in the
postseason…The Nets were 10-of-23 from beyond the arc…Toronto is 2-11
lifetime in the playoffs when scoring less than 93 points…The 12 assists for
Toronto is a franchise low for the playoffs.

NJN TOR