TORONTO, Nov. 2 (Ticker) -- The Dallas Mavericks lost their first game and, more importantly, their best player.


Vince Carter was up to his usual tricks north of the border.
Ron Turenne/NBAE/Getty Images
NBA.comTV highlights from Mavericks-Raptors:
56k | 300k
Vince Carter scored 11 of his 25 points in the first quarter as the Toronto Raptors jumped out to a big lead and cruised to their first victory, 109-92 over the Mavericks, who lost Dirk Nowitzki to a sprained ankle midway through the opening period.

After dropping its first two games of the season on the road, Toronto seemed rejuvenated at Air Canada Center and scored 16 of the game's first 18 points.

The Raptors had a 20-9 lead when Nowitzki sprained his left ankle after stepping on the foot of Toronto forward Antonio Davis while driving to the basket on a fast break.

"It's not bad," Nowitzki said. "It was pretty sore as soon as it happened, but it's better now that I've iced it. I can put some weight on it. It's a day-to-day thing. Antonio's foot got under mine and I rolled it. It's the same ankle I rolled just before training camp."

Morris Peterson scored 12 of his 23 points in the first quarter and Toronto built a 15-point cushion after the opening 12 minutes. It led by as many as 23 in the second period before settling for a 67-47 halftime lead. Dallas got no closer than 11 thereafter.

"We pushed the ball and set the tempo," Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens said. "The guy I thought who set the tempo for us was Mo. I've asked him to be more aggressive and not to be a spectator. He's moving much beter and we're finding him."

Peterson made 10-of-17 shots and had seven rebounds and eight assists. Alvin Williams collected 10 points and eight assists and Davis added 12 points and eight rebounds.

"It was a big win for us to beat a team like Dallas that is so deep and talented," Peterson said. "We wanted to come out and make a statement tonight. Coming home after losing our first two games, it was a little test for us and it was a confidence builder."

Michael Finley and Tim Hardaway each scored 17 points to lead six players in double figures for the Mavericks. Juwan Howard had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Donnell Harvey contributed 12 and nine.

The teams traded baskets to open the game, but Toronto scored the next 14 points to take control. Peterson and Davis each scored six points during the spurt before Hardaway ended it with a 3-pointer.

"We knew they would come out hard after losing two," Hardaway said. "They play phsyical and they made shots. We didn't play any defense tonight. We have a lot of people hurt, and this was a back-to-back."

Dallas guard Adrian Griffin is sidelined with back spasms and guard Greg Buckner, another key reserve, has yet to return from an ankle sprain suffered in Tuesday's season opener.

Nowitzki was fouled on the drive to the basket on which he was injured. Toronto picked Harvey, who missed both of his previous attempts, to take Nowitzki's free throws.

Harvey sank both and Hardaway nailed a 3-pointer to make it 20-14, but Toronto outscored the Mavs, 13-4, over the final 4:17 of the period. Carter scored nine points during the run and Peterson had the other four.

"I am not sure if we didn't have that injury if we would've won this game," Nelson said. "Defensively, we couldn't cover Carter."

The Raptors shot 58 percent (15-of-26) in the opening quarter while Dallas managed to make just 7-of-22 shots. Toronto piled up 33 assists and committed just seven turnovers.

"We had great execution and we took care of the ball," Wilkens said. "You don't want to start the season 0-3, and we were upset. Tonight, to me, was a must-win."

Toronto shot 51 percent (28-of-84) but went to the line just 11 times on its home floor. The Raptors also collected 11 steals, including three by Hakeem Olajuwon, who had 11 points and eight rebounds.

The Raptors had a 79-58 lead in the third quarter when Dallas went on an 11-1 run and pulled within 80-69 on a jumper by Hardaway with 3:23 remaining.

But Carter made consecutive spinning shots in the lane and followed with a technical free throw to make it 85-70 and deflate the Mavs' comeback hopes.

The Raptors avoided falling to 0-3 for the first time in franchise history, while the Mavericks failed to open the season 3-0 for the first time since 1997.