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Calderon Helps Raptors Outlast Hornets

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March 1, 2011

TORONTO (AP) -- Jose Calderon was looking for redemption. He got it, and then some.

Calderon had a season-high 22 points and 16 assists, DeMar DeRozan scored 17 points and the Toronto Raptors beat the New Orleans Hornets 96-90 Tuesday night for just their fourth win in 24 games.

Held scoreless in Toronto's 85-81 loss at New Orleans on Jan. 17, Calderon came out fired up for the return encounter.

"It was kind of like I owed this team a little bit," he said. "I played really bad down there. They kept me to no points. I wanted to be aggressive from the beginning."

Hornets coach Monty Williams was impressed with Calderon's 12th double-double of the season.

"He was exceptional," Williams said. "He made play after play after play against us. He's not just a veteran guard, he's way above average. He makes great decisions, can shoot the ball and he just made winning plays tonight."

Calderon had not scored more than 20 points since a 21-point performance at Washington on Jan. 15, a span of 20 games. His scoreless effort against the Hornets came in Toronto's next game.

DeRozan said Calderon was "amazing."

"He knew where to find everybody," DeRozan said. "He was knocking down shots and that's what we need from him."

Returning to the lineup after missing Sunday's loss to Dallas with flulike symptoms, Andrea Bargnani scored 14 points for Toronto, which also got 14 from Sonny Weems and 13 from James Johnson.

Amir Johnson had eight points, 10 rebounds and matched a career high with seven blocks for the Raptors, who had lost two straight.

David West had 19 points and 10 rebounds and former Raptor Jarrett Jack scored 17, but the Hornets lost for the ninth time in 12 games.

Carl Landry had 17 points, Marco Belinelli 13 and Trevor Ariza 10 for New Orleans.

New Orleans outscored Toronto by nine points in the second half, but it wasn't enough to undo a 15-point halftime deficit.

"We waited too late to play," Williams said. "The attitude starting the game and not having that sense of urgency, it hurt us tonight."

There's little time to dwell on the defeat: New Orleans visits the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

"We have to flush the toilet on this one and get ready," Williams said.

It was another difficult night for Hornets point guard Chris Paul, who made just three of 10 shots and finished with seven points, five assists and four rebounds.

Paul went 2 of 12 and matched a season low with six points in Sunday's loss to Houston. He has not shot better than 50 percent in his past 10 games, and remains at a loss to explain his recent funk.

"I don't know, I don't know," Paul said. "I'm getting a lot of shots. A lot of shots are right there. Last game, I missed everything right there around the rim, tonight it was just off. I think I've got to find a rhythm or something like that, find a way to get some easy baskets."

Trailing by 10 points to start the fourth, the Hornets opened the quarter on an 11-4 run, making five of their first six shots. Toronto called time after 3-pointer by Belinelli cut their lead to 76-73 with 8:54 remaining.

Bargnani stopped the run with a jumper, and a 3 by Calderon gave Toronto an 84-76 lead with 7:11 left.

Toronto led 94-87 on a thunderous dunk by Amir Johnson with 1:29 left, but a three-point play by Landry made it 94-90 with 47 seconds remaining. Calderon capped it with a pair of free throws.

Calderon had eight points and six assists in the first quarter as the Raptors built a 27-20 lead.

The Hornets battled back to tie it at 37-all on a jumper by Landry with 6:04 left in the half. But the Raptors made their next six shots and New Orleans missed four of five as Toronto responded with a 14-2 run over the next four minutes. Weems scored 10 points in the second and DeRozan added eight, giving the Raptors a 57-42 lead at the half.

James Johnson scored nine points in the third and Toronto maintained its 15-point edge until the final minute of the quarter, when a pair of free throws from Jack and a 3-pointer by Belinelli trimmed the Raptors lead to 10, 72-62, heading into the fourth.

NOTES: Calderon's career high in assists in 19, set twice previously. He had 19 against Minnesota on Feb. 4. ... The Raptors were scheduled to fly to London following the game. They'll face the New Jersey Nets in the English capital on Friday and Saturday, the first regular-season games played in Europe. ... This was the first of five road games in seven days for the Hornets as they get away from New Orleans during the height of Mardi Gras season.