PHILADELPHIA, May 5 (AP)
-- Vince Carter
and Allen Iverson
were equally spectacular. The difference was that Carter consistently put on a show, and Iverson could only do it in spurts.
Carter scored 35 points, including Toronto's final four, as the Raptors stole homecourt advantage from Philadelphia with a 96-93 victory Sunday in Game 1 of their second-round series.
| Carter, battling Mutombo here, lead the Raptors with 35 points.|
Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE Photos
| NBA.com TV highlights: 28.8+ |
"I can sense this team has grown up," said Carter, whose team surprised New York in the first round. "In a crucial and intense situation like that, we're able to run the plays instead of taking a wild shot. We've learned, I think."
The 76ers trailed for the final 40 minutes but came close to forcing overtime. Inbounding from midcourt with 5.8 seconds left, Iverson broke for the backcourt and Philadelphia got the ball to Aaron McKie
for an open 3-pointer that missed just before the final buzzer.
Iverson finished with 36 points, including a 3-pointer with 7.8 seconds left that pulled the Sixers within one -- the closest they had been since the first quarter.
Iverson said he was supposed to receive the final inbounds pass, but did not explain why he ran into the backcourt to receive it.
"We had about six options on that play. Aaron was the second option. Everyone on the bench was hoping we could get a shot like that," 76ers coach Larry Brown
Carter, who tipped in his own missed shot with 12.8 seconds left to give the Raptors a four-point lead, made two free throws with 5.8 remaining for the game's final points.
Carter shot 13-for-29 and had seven assists, while Iverson was 11-for-34 with eight rebounds, seven steals and four assists.
Iverson made three of his first four shots, then missed 11 of his next 13. He was 4-for-8 in the third quarter and 2-for-9 in the fourth.
"Allen was a little anxious today," Brown said. "Sometimes he wants to win so bad he doesn't wait for the game to come to him."
Aside from Carter, 14-year veteran Dell Curry
made the difference for Toronto by scoring 20 points and hitting four 3-pointers. Alvin Williams
added 15 and Charles Oakley
had 13, including a jumper with 49 seconds left that gave Toronto some much-needed breathing room.
Philadelphia trailed by as many as 17 and was behind by 12 early in the fourth before making a comeback.
Iverson dived through the air to deflect an inbounds pass with 90 seconds left, leading to George Lynch
's dunk that cut Toronto's lead to 90-88.
Carter was isolated one-on-one against McKie on Toronto's next possession, and he went to the hole but missed. Antonio Davis
grabbed the offensive rebound and the Raptors swung the ball to Oakley for a 17-footer that gave them a four-point lead.
Iverson hit two fouls shots to make it a two-point game before Carter got the ball in an isolation situation once again at the top of the key. Again the Sixers refused to send a second defender until Carter began his move, and Carter drove and shot the ball too hard off the backboard but outleaped everyone to tip it in for a 94-90 lead. It was just his second rebound of the game.
"The ball was just sitting there in the air, and I quickly went right back up and tried to get a finger on it before (Dikembe) Mutombo or anyone else could get to it," Carter said.
Carter ended the third quarter with an incredible off-balance shot over the outstretched hand of Tyrone Hill
to give Toronto a 12-point lead entering the fourth.
Curry hit a short jumper with 9:26 remaining for an 80-68 lead before Philadelphia made its move, getting five points McKie and three from Iverson in an 11-2 run that got the deficit down to three.
Philadelphia had two chances to tie or pull within one. On the first, Iverson stole the ball from Oakley but threw a pass that Tyrone Hill
couldn't handle. On the second, Iverson missed a reverse layup.
Carter answered with a three-point play, and Williams scored Toronto's next four points to make it 89-84 heading into the final two minutes.
"As soon as it ended I just looked at the scoreboard and said 'It's over.' Now I'll go home and play with my kids and forget about it," Iverson said. "We've been here before and we know we have to execute better."
The Sixers committed 11 turnovers in the first quarter. ... The 76ers have not won a best-of-seven series since 1984-85, going 0-6 since then. ... Eric Montross
, who did not play in the New York series, grabbed five rebounds in five first-half minutes. ... Toronto's Chris Childs
fouled out with 7:14 remaining and then drew a technical foul. Childs was scoreless in 24 minutes. ... Oakley took great pleasure in making fun of the New York Knicks, who lost to Toronto in the first round. "They have no more tough guys. Ewing for Luc Longley
was a bust,'' Oakley said. "I hope they get more guys like him."