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Raptors use 19-0 fourth quarter run to seal win over Celtics

TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors haven't been this good, this late in the season since Chris Bosh's rookie season.

Bosh had 26 points and Anthony Parker added a career-high 23 to lead the Raptors past the injury-riddled Boston Celtics 96-90 on Friday night.

The Atlantic-Division leading Raptors reached .500 (22-22) this late in the season for the first time since Feb. 10 2004.

"We worked very hard to get to this point and it's going to be even harder," said Bosh, whose team now goes on five-game road trip.

Toronto finished 4-1 on a homestand during which they played four teams with records below. 500.

"It's good be at .500, but our goal is greater than that," Toronto's Morris Peterson said.

Toronto went on a 19-0 fourth-quarter run when Boston went more than 6 minutes without scoring.

Al Jefferson had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who have lost 10 straight -- their longest skid since losing 10 in a row from March 20 to April 7 in 2000.

The Celtics are missing Paul Pierce, Wally Szczerbiak and Tony Allen.

"We just made a lot of mistakes at the end of the game and it cost us the game," Jefferson said.

Parker's previous career-high was 22 points in the first game of the season on Nov. 1 against New Jersey. The swingman returned to the NBA after playing six seasons overseas, the last two of which he was Euroleague MVP for Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv.

He made seven 3-pointers against Boston.

The Celtics trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, but they outscored the Raptors 28-20 in the third quarter. Jefferson scored six straight late in the third to give Boston its first lead of the game.

Ryan Gomes' layup gave Boston a 79-73 lead with 7:22 left, but Toronto followed with its run. Parker's 3-pointer, Jose Calderon's layup and Bosh's two free throws regained the lead for Toronto.

Peterson's 3-pointer and Bosh's two free throws made it 92-79 with 1:29 remaining.

Boston's Sebastian Telfair capped an 11-2 run with a 3-pointer with 5 seconds left, but Calderon made two free throws with 4.4 seconds left and Gerald Green missed a 3-pointer.

Game notes
Toronto coach Sam Mitchell picked official Dick Bavetta to win a foot race with Charles Barkley. "If it was an eating contest I'd pick Charles," Mitchell said. Barkley, known as the Round Mound of Rebound, has challenged the 67-year-old Bavetta to a race at NBA All-Star weekend in Las Vegas. ... Toronto reached .500 for the first time since Nov. 8, when the team was 2-2. ... The Raptors went 13-for-29 from behind the 3-point arc.

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