Calderon hits a milestone

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

The moment arrived at the 5:48 mark of the second quarter, a moment worth noting in a season dotted with unspeakable disappointment.

Jose Calderon would make a pass to Jason Kapono, whose jumper found nothing but net.

The sequence vaulted Calderon atop the Raptors' career list in assists, eclipsing Alvin Williams, who embodied professionalism and perseverance, and Damon Stoudamire, the franchise's original face, who was the ring leader of the inaugural team.

"It's been four years already,'' Calderon said yesterday of his tenure in Toronto, a day after he became the franchise leader in a 99-95 overtime loss to Detroit.

"It's been fun. It feels like I arrived yesterday. That's how comfortable I feel being here. Hopefully I keep going and keep doing good things for the Raptors."

The timing of Calderon's milestone dish can't be easily dismissed.

It comes as T.J. Ford gets set to make his second return to Hogtown as a member of the Indiana Pacers, who will provide the opposition this afternoon at the ACC.

The team's direction and dynamics were essentially set when the Raptors decided to keep Calderon and trade Ford last off-season.

The team's history books would have a decidedly different look had Calderon been moved and not Ford.

With so much uncertainty hovering over a team that enters today's tip mired in a seven-game losing streak, whose to say that Calderon may soon be history.

Nothing in Raptorland is a given and nor should it be as the team finds itself 20 games under .500 at 23-43.

In Calderon's first season in 2005, the team finished with a 27-55 record.

One of Calderon's teammates was Williams, who battled through many ailments.

"Alvin helped me a lot,'' Calderon said. "He's a great guy and he talked to me.

"He would joke with me. It was hard for me to understand any English, but he tried to speak to me."

In these trying times, Calderon is hopeful the Raptors can somehow close out the remaining 16 games on a positive note.

And despite the mounting losses, Calderon looks at the standings and the mess that is the crawl for the eighth and final playoff seed in the East and he continues to see an opportunity.

"It's unbelievable," Calderon said. "We still have a chance, but we have to win."

The Pacers aren't as good as the Pistons, but Indiana is just as good as the Raptors.

In other words, they are equally bad, much like all the teams in contention for the eight spot.

At least Calderon is healthy after nursing a troublesome hamstring. He produced his 15th double-double with a 20-point and 11-assist night against the Pistons on Friday.

He'll have to produce similar numbers to give the Raptors a chance of winning a game because Toronto's chances of making the post-season are fading.


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