PHOENIX, Nov. 18 (Ticker) -- Vince Carter made four three-pointers and scored 31 points as the Toronto Raptors held off the Phoenix Suns, 87-81, in the finale of a season-high six-game road trip.


Vince Carter and the Raptors outran Shawn Marion and the Suns.
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Carter has earned most of his acclaim for highlight reel dunks as a 39 percent career perimeter shooter. But he is shooting 42 percent (33-of-79) from three-point range this season.

Carter's final three-pointer came with 9:10 left in the fourth and put the Raptors ahead, 80-66. After a series of swift passes along the perimeter, he spotted up from the left side against Phoenix's matchup zone.

It was Carter's second big night from three-point range during the road trip. He opened the trip with eight three-pointers in a blowout victory on November 10 at Utah.

"The most important thing is that we should be proud of ourselves because we survived," Carter said. "I mean 3-3 is great, but 4-2 is better. We showed that we can bring it to these West Coast teams and make it happen. I think it was a chance to show where we are and where we want to be."

"When we swing the ball we have to penetrate, and then if we have to set and pitch it, and that's really how you get shots," Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens added. "They got a lot of shots, but we never got ourselves out of the game. It was a collective effort tonight."

But the Raptors nearly fell apart, going 8:10 without a point, as the Suns went on a 13-0 run to cut the deficit to 80-79 with just over a minute to play. Shawn Marion and Stephon Marbury combined for nine points during the burst.

But Alvin Williams nailed a 16-footer to end the Raptors' drought with a minute left. He finished with 12 points and five rebounds.

"Just shooting it, it was a situation where Chris (Childs) penetrated and got me a good look, and that was it," Williams said. "I just made the shot. They switched up and gave us two different looks.

"In the first half, they pressed and then they got back in the game. And then in the fourth quarter, when they went into the zone, we just had to adjust to it. And I think we did a good job of adjusting to their press early."

Before Williams' shot, the Raptors were just 3-of-17 in the fourth quarter.

"I think he has been a little impatient with himself and we are going to keep encouraging him to let it come to him a little bit and to pick opportunites for the shots," Wilkens said. "He hit some big ones tonight and you have to love what he does. He works hard. He defends. He will pass it. He will rebound it and he will push it up, so I think the shot will fall into place eventually."

Marbury scored 19 points, but he and Penny Hardaway missed three-pointers in the final 15 seconds to complete the Suns' 1-of-10 effort from the arc.

Morris Peterson made a pair of free throws with 2.8 seconds left to seal the victory.

"It was a tough game for us," Marbury said. "We fought so hard to get back into the game. We had to put a lot of energy and effort into getting back into the game. We stayed with it, Vince Carter hit some big shots and we missed some big shots, shots that we would take over and over again."

Toronto's largest lead was 19 points following Hakeem Olajuwon's follow shot midawy through the third quarter.

Like he has done before, Phoenix coach Scott Skiles switched to a matchup zone, a move that sparked a 16-6 outburst. It reduced the deficit to 68-60 before Dell Curry nailed a three-pointer as time expired in the period.

"The game started kind of slow and everybody wasn't into it like we need to," Marion said. "We got lulled to sleep out there a little bit in the first quarter, but once we got it going, we started doing everything right."

Carter has scored 163 points in his last four games against the Suns, including 51 on Feb. 27, 2000.