TORONTO (AP)—After staving off elimination by holding on for a win in Game 5, the Toronto Raptors hope they have enough healthy players for Game 6.
Jose Calderon scored a career-high 25 points before spraining his ankle in the final minute and Andrea Bargnani added 18 points as the Raptors rebounded from two double-digit losses to beat the New Jersey Nets 98-96 on Tuesday night.
“It took everything and it took everybody,” Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. “They didn’t go away quietly.”
Game 6 in the first-round series is Friday night in New Jersey.
The victory came at a cost for Toronto, who lost point guards Calderon and T.J. Ford to injury.
“We’re going to need these couple of days in between games,” Mitchell said. “We’ve got some guys banged up but hopefully they’ll feel a little bit better tomorrow.”
Ford left shortly after colliding with Carter with less than 30 seconds to play in the first quarter. Ford, who suffered what team officials called a “stinger,” was taken to a hospital for tests. He returned to the arena and was sitting on the bench late in the fourth quarter. Tests showed no serious problems but Ford still complained of soreness after the game.
Calderon was taken to a hospital after the game for tests on his ankle. The severity of his injury was not known.
“We just kind of rallied around each other and got stops when we needed to,” Raptors forward Morris Peterson said.
Calderon was praised for stepping up in Ford’s absence.
“Jose did a spectacular job tonight,” Toronto’s Chris Bosh said. “He made some big shots, especially when they were going under the screens. They paid a lot of attention to me so that freed him up.”
The Raptors led by as many as 17 points in the second half but the Nets got within one in the final minute when Calderon rolled over on his ankle and lost the ball to Jason Kidd. Vince Carter then hit a 3-pointer to make it 95-94 with 27.6 seconds remaining.
Two free throws by Bosh and a putback from Mikki Moore of the Nets made it 97-96. Bosh was fouled again but made just one of two, giving the Nets a chance to tie or go for the win. Carter drove to the basket but Juan Dixon’s defense forced him to give up the ball and Bostjan Nachbar’s 3-pointer bounced off the rim as time expired.
“He was wide open,” Carter said. “I’ll go for that every time. I told him if that play happens again, I’m going to make the same play.”
Kidd said the Nets “couldn’t have asked for a better shot.”
“It was all set up for us to win the game,” Kidd said. “Unfortunately we didn’t.”
Nachbar, who went 0-for-7 from beyond the arc, felt bad for missing the opportunity.
“Vince did a great job sucking in the defense,” he said. “I had a wide open shot and I missed it. It’s as simple as that. It was a big play, they showed trust in me and I screwed up.”
Nets coach Lawrence Frank didn’t want his team hanging their heads.
“We give them credit, they deserved to win,” Frank said. “Now we have to go home and defend our turf.”
Bargnani scored Toronto’s first seven points of the game. He made all six of his field goal attempts and all three of his free throws in the first half.
The first overall pick in last June’s draft, Bargnani missed 14 games after undergoing an emergency appendectomy on March 21.
“He didn’t play like a rookie tonight,” Peterson said. “He made some big plays for us in the first half. He did some great things. I think he’s starting to get back to one hundred percent. It’s hard when you miss so much time and try to come back and play at this level in the playoffs.”
Anthony Parker scored 18 points and Peterson added 17 for Toronto.
Plagued by foul trouble, Bosh struggled again, scoring 11 points on 3-for-11 shooting.
Carter scored 30 points for the Nets, who also got 23 points from Richard Jefferson and 11 points and 10 assists from Kidd.
After falling behind early in Games 3 and 4, the Raptors got off to good start Tuesday. The Nets were forced to call a timeout after Bosh blocked Jason Collins and Parker followed with a jump shot that made it 13-5 at 7:21 of the first.
“We were just on our heels,” Kidd said. “They came out loose and they made every shot, got every loose ball and they took advantage of the lead that they built.”
Bosh went to the bench after picking up his second foul on New Jersey’s next possession but it didn’t slow Toronto, who rode Bargnani’s hot hand to a 33-13 lead after 12 minutes.
“We dug ourselves such a huge hole in the first quarter,” Frank said.
Bosh didn’t score until knocking down a jump shot with 6:22 left in the first half to put Toronto up 42-27.
Kidd’s first basket was a layup at 7:29 of the third that made it 63-50.
Ford missed part of his rookie season in 2003-04 and all of 2004-05 after injuring his back in a collision with Minnesota center Mark Madsen in February 2004. … New Jersey starters Kidd, Collins and Moore were all held scoreless in the first half. … If there is a Game 7 it would be Sunday in Toronto.