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Ford, Parker do damage as Raptors edge Wolves

TORONTO (AP) -- T.J. Ford has the Toronto Raptors in first place
in the Atlantic Division, even without Chris Bosh.

Ford scored 28 points and Anthony Parker added 19 to lead
Toronto to a 100-97 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on
Wednesday night.

The Raptors are 6-4 without Bosh (sore left knee), their leading
scorer. He isn't expected back until Jan. 3 when Toronto hosts
Phoenix.

"With Chris being out I think the team really depends on me,"
Ford said. "They are looking for me to put up points and take the
shots and continue to put pressure on the defense. Right now I'm
just in a groove."

Toronto is 8-3 at home, where it will play four of its next
five.

The Raptors returned home after going 2-2 on a West Coast trip
as Ford averaged 20 points and 9.3 assists. Ford had seven assists
and finished 12-for-18 from the field against Minnesota.

"Just look at what Ford did the last couple of weeks on the
West Coast. He's torched everybody he's gone up against. I mean,
you can't coach speed, that's something that he's blessed with,"
Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said.

The Raptors acquired Ford from Milwaukee after new general
manager Bryan Colangelo declined to re-sign Mike James in the
offseason.

James had a chance to tie the score with 8.2 seconds left after
he was fouled on a 3-pointer, but missed one of his three free
throws.

Kevin Garnett then missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it in
the final seconds.

James said Ford had a solid game. They work out together in
Houston during the summer.

"T.J. played well. He came out aggressive and never let up,"
James said.

James was booed when he was introduced before the game.

"I thought it was cute," James said, smiling.

Garnett had 24 points and James 20 for the Timberwolves, who are
0-5 against Toronto since former Minnesota player Sam Mitchell
became coach of the Raptors.

Minnesota's Randy Foye said his team couldn't contain Ford.

"It's like he's running in circles," Foye said. "When you
think he's trying to find a seam to pass it, he'll pull up and
shoot a fadeaway jump shot, so it's tough to guard him."

After Ford's jumper gave Toronto a 95-91 lead with 29.1 seconds
left, he took a charge and the game became a free-throw contest for
Toronto.

Parker had a chance to give the Raptors a six-point lead with
25.6 seconds remaining, but he missed both free-throw attempts.

After Foye made a fast-break layup to trim Toronto's lead to
two, Jose Calderon made one of two free throws for the Raptors to
make it 96-93 with 18.9 seconds left.

James' quick layup cut Toronto's lead to one, but Ford made two
free throws to give Toronto a 98-95 lead.

Ford fouled James as he attempted a 3-pointer, but James
couldn't tie it from the foul line. Parker made two free throws to
make it 100-97 with 7.7 seconds left, and Garnett missed a
3-pointer.

Parker's fadeaway jumper with 9:13 left in the fourth gave
Toronto its first lead since the first quarter.

Game notes
James is having an inconsistent season. "I've played good
a few, played bad a few, but I started this way in Toronto last
year," said James, who averaged a career-high 20.3 points and 5.8
assists last season with the Raptors.