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NBA | Raptors hold off Nets' late charge

On the brink of losing the first-round series, Toronto had let a 17-point lead slip away.

TORONTO - Jose Calderon scored 25 points and Andrea Bargnani 18 as the Toronto Raptors rebounded from two double-digit losses to stave off elimination and beat the New Jersey Nets, 98-96, last night.

Game 6 of the first-round series is Friday night in New Jersey.

The Raptors led by as many as 17 in the second half, but the Nets got within one in the final minute when Calderon rolled his ankle and lost the ball to Jason Kidd. Vince Carter then hit a three-point shot to make the score 95-94 with 27.6 seconds left.

Two free throws by Toronto's Chris Bosh and a putback from the Nets' Mikki Moore made it 97-96. Bosh was fouled again but made just one free throw, 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 three-pointer bounced off the rim as time expired.

Starting for the first time in the series, Bargnani scored Toronto's first seven points. He made all six of his shots and all three of his free throws in the first half.

Horry to rescue . . . again. Robert Horry wouldn't even rank this among his best.

But his rainbow three-pointer with 30 seconds left saved the San Antonio Spurs, whose 96-89 win over Denver on Monday night gave them a 3-1 series lead.

"It doesn't even make the top five or top 10," Horry said. "There was too much time on the clock."

Horry's shot may have been the series breaker. Tony Parker drove through the lane and kicked it out to Horry in the right corner. Horry swished the shot as Marcus Camby, the league's defensive player of the year, ran at him.

Horry helped the Spurs win Game 3 when he stole an inbounds pass and hit a three-pointer.

"I hate him, but I love him," Manu Ginobili said. "He makes those shots all the time when they count. We're so glad to have him."

The Spurs were confident they could work their way back after falling behind by as many as 10 points in the second half.

The Nuggets may not have the Spurs' playoff swagger yet, but a series like this is helping them develop an identity.

"The energy, the intensity, the understanding how hard it is to win a playoff game - all that has been good for us," coach George Karl said. "It doesn't feel good now. In time, it will be good for us."

"We make good plays to get back to try to win it, and Horry, of course, breaks your heart with the three."