Toronto 87, Detroit 84

TORONTO, April 13 (AP) -- The Toronto Raptors moved a step closer to clinching home court in the first round of the playoffs. If they later meet the Detroit Pistons, they know they'll have to play better.

Anthony Parker scored 21 points and the Raptors moved within a win or a Miami loss from clinching the third seed in the Eastern Conference with an 87-84 victory over the Pistons on Friday night.

Richard Hamilton had 24 points for the Pistons, who clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference on Wednesday. Chauncey Billups didn't play Friday, but the rest of the Pistons didn't take the Raptors lightly in the first three quarters.

Detroit held Toronto to 34 percent shooting through three quarters and led 69-58.

Toronto trailed by as many as 15 in the third, but outscored Detroit 29-15 in the fourth while the Pistons rested their starters.

"It was a good win for us, it just puts us a step closer to what we are going trying to do to get to the third spot,'' Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "That is a good basketball team. If it comes down the line that we meet them, we are going to have to play better.''

Parker echoed Mitchell's comments.

"Rasheed didn't play the end, Rip didn't and Chauncey didn't play at all,'' Parker said. "These are guys that have rings. If we see them hopefully it will be in the Eastern Conference finals, but yeah, we have to play a lot better.''

Chris Bosh added 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Raptors, who could capture home-court advantage for the first time in their history with a win in their last three games or a loss by the Heat in their final two.

"It's just big. It's the nature of the playoffs,'' Parker said. "We play well here. The fans are great. It would just be a huge thing.''

Parker's off-balance 3-pointer banked off the glass and went in just before the shot clock expired, giving Toronto the lead for good with 1:44 left

Toronto outscored Detroit 16-8 in the first eight minutes of the fourth.

After Parker's 3-pointer, Bosh made a finger roll layup to make it 83-79 with 1:11 left.

Lindsey Hunter followed with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one with 56 seconds remaining, but T.J. Ford made a layup before making two free throws with 5.6 seconds left to clinch the victory.

Detroit coach Flip Saunders said his starters played well.

"We gave our young guys some opportunities to play in stretch situations where they normally don't get that opportunity, and I thought they played well,'' Saunders said. "Parker makes an unbelievable shot that kind of knocked the wind right out of our sail.''

Toronto's Kris Humphries grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds for the Raptors, who have already clinched their first Atlantic Division title in team history.

Notes: The mother of former Raptors star Vince Carter sat courtside. ... Andrea Bargnani missed the game with a sinus infection. He was expected to return after missing 11 games because of an appendectomy. ... Toronto's Jorge Garbajosa sat courtside for the first time since breaking his left ankle on March 26. Garbajosa received a loud ovation from the fans.


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