Raptors beat Bucks to stay alive

The Toronto Raptors are in the middle of a five-game homestand that at one time looked like it would be an oasis on the schedule and an opportunity to make up ground in the NBA playoff race.

Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh guards Milwaukee Buck

Raptors 115 Bucks 106

TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors are in the middle of a five-game homestand that at one time looked like it would be an oasis on the schedule and an opportunity to make up ground in the NBA playoff race.

Instead the Raptors are all but eliminated from the post-season, though their second win in a row — 115-106 over the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday night —has them keeping up a brave front.

Andrea Bargnani scored 23 points for the Raptors, while Jose Calderon 19 points and 11 assists and Chris Bosh and Anthony Parker had 18 points each. Bosh also had 14 rebounds.

The Raptors stressed the need to finish the season strong after the game, though they need to win seven of their last 11 games to even have a hope of making the post-season.

“Until someone says we cannot make the playoffs, we have to keep working and finish as strong as we can,“ Calderon said. “I think we have played much better. I am the first one who wasn’t happy with the way the season was going. I am the point guard and I have to make plays to everybody. I couldn’t make them because I wasn’t 100 per cent.”

Calderon has shown improvement at point guard after struggling with a hamstring injury that cost him several games.

“Jose has been very good as far as attacking the basket, something we didn‘t see when he was laboured with that hamstring,” Raptors interim head coach Jay Triano said. “He is just starting to get back in the groove and as a result we are moving better offensively, sharing the ball better and getting better results.”

Added Calderon: “I think it may be a little late, but I feel great.”

Richard Jefferson with 22 points and Charlie Bell with 20 led the Bucks, 31-41, who opened a four-game trip.

The Raptors made 35 of 40 free throw attempts while the Bucks made seven of nine.

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