Raptors 102, 76ers 78
TORONTO (AP) _ Vincredible!
Vince Carter put on a record-breaking playoff performance Friday night that rivaled what Allen Iverson did in the previous game, making his first eight 3-pointers and finishing with 50 points as Toronto beat Philadelphia 102-78 for a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal.
Although everyone was wondering what Iverson would come up with after his scintillating 54-point outburst in Game 2, they should have been more concerned with Carter. The third-year forward had what was by far the best playoff game of his career as he became the 16th NBA player to reach 50 in a postseason game.
Carter reached that plateau with 2:58 left, throwing down his signature shot _ a dunk _ to give Toronto a 22-point lead. He left the court to a huge ovation moments later, giving coach Lenny Wilkens a slap on the hand and then pumping his fist to the crowd.
Carter finished one point shy of his career-high of 51.
He finished with nine 3-pointers, tying the postseason record set by Rex Chapman of Phoenix in 1997, and his eight 3-pointers in the first two quarters broke the old record of six 3-pointers in a half shared by several players.
Carter made his first eight 3-point attempts before pulling up and missing from 26 feet with about four minutes remaining in the second quarter. Carter had 34 points at halftime, five short of the NBA record for points in a half set by Sleepy Floyd of Golden State in 1987.
Antonio Davis added 20 points and 14 rebounds, dominating his matchup with Dikembe Mutombo, and Chris Childs had his best game of the series with 16 points and 10 assists. Carter added seven assists, six rebounds and four blocks.
Iverson led Philadelphia with 23 points but shot just 7-for-22 from the field and 8-for-15 from the line. Aaron McKie added 17 points.
The Raptors sent a double-team at Iverson the first time he touched the ball, and he immediately found Eric Snow for a 16-footer. But Carter answered with a 3-pointer for Toronto's first points, and the Raptors never trailed again.
Carter went 3-for-3 from 3-point range in the first quarter, then made his first five attempts from behind the arc in the second quarter as Toronto started breaking the game open.
Carter's eighth 3-pointer made it 46-33 with 4:35 left, and he finally missed one about 30 seconds later when he stopped and popped from 26 feet, barely grazing the rim.
Toronto led 58-41 at the break as Carter had 34 points at halftime on 12-for-15 shooting, while Iverson had 16 points but missed seven of 15 foul shots and 10 of 14 field-goal attempts.
Carter started the second half by missing a 3, but Davis dunked with 9:33 left to give Toronto to its first 20-point lead, 64-43.
Philadelphia employed a full-court press and looked to get out on the fast break as much as possible over the rest of the quarter, but the Sixers still trailed 75-61 entering the fourth after Carter hit his ninth 3-pointer with 42 seconds remaining.
Jerome Williams dunked over Mutombo to start the fourth quarter, then came up with a steal that led to a long jumper by Chris Childs for a 79-63 lead. Philadelphia pulled within 12 as Iverson hit a jumper to snap his 1-for-11 slump, but Carter hit a jumper and fed Alvin Williams for a layup that made it 89-71 with 6:06 left to end all doubt. Notes:@ The Raptors gave out 13,000 purple headbands to their fans. Several members of the team have been wearing headbands since the first round against New York. Free agents-to-be Antonio Davis and Alvin Williams have chosen to stay headband-free. ... Toronto coach Lenny Wilkens received a standing ovation when he walked onto the court prior to the game. ... Nik Antropov of the NHL Maple Leafs attended the game and was booed. ... The attendance of 20,436 was a Raptors record for the Air Canada Center.