TORONTO, Dec. 17 (Ticker) -- Michael Jordan
showed Vince Carter
that it's not how you start, it's how you finish.
Jordan's Washington Wizards held Carter scoreless in the second half and pulled away for their sixth straight victory, a 93-88 triumph over the
The first meeting between North Carolina alumni "Air Jordan" and "Air Canada" began with Carter exploding for 19 points in the first quarter and the Raptors bolting to a 19-point lead.
"It's tough to come here and play him, just watching him on TV," Jordan said. "It took me a whole quarter just to figure out what his tendencies are and to take some of his rhythm away."
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Nobody is beating Michael Jordan and the Wiz these days.
But Carter went cold after halftime and picked up his fifth foul in the third quarter. By that time, the Wizards had rallied to take the lead behind Jordan, who made four straight shots in the period.
Carter returned with 10:24 to play but was tentative and did not score again. He was 0-of-4 from the field in the second half and finished with 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting.
"I didn't make shots in the second half and we weren't communicating well on defense," Carter said. "They played hard, challenged every shot and hit the glass."
Jordan made just 8-of-21 shots and scored 21 points. As he has during the winning streak, he showed increasing trust in his teammates, who are improving around him.
"Everybody's accepting their role and people are making big shots," Jordan said. "We lost eight games in a row and now I think the guys are starting to accept their roles. I'm just trying to keep everybody in a positive sense."
scored 27 points for the Wizards, who have won six in a row for the first time since December 15-26, 1997. The only current member of the Wizards on that team is guard Chris Whitney,
who hit two big 3-pointers down the stretch.
scored 17 points and Morris Peterson
added 16 for the Raptors, who heard some late boos from the sellout crowd of 20,048 as they dropped their fourth in a row.
"It's frustrating because we're beginning to lose our confidence, but we'll get it back," Carter said. "There are a lot of games left to work it out. It's not time to panic."
The Wizards trailed, 52-46, at halftime but Jordan's transition jumper gave them their first lead at 58-56 with 7:33 left in the third quarter. He added two more jumpers to widen the advantage to 64-58.
With 2:17 left, Carter was whistled for his fifth foul and coach Lenny Wilkens drew a technical in protest. Washington led, 73-68, when Carter and Jordan returned at the same time.
Jordan's turnaround jumper gave the Wizards a 78-70 lead before Williams capped a 7-0 surge with a long jumper that pulled the Raptors within a point with 6:47 left.
However, Toronto got no closer.
made a jumper and Jordan sank two free throws. After Williams made another shot, Whitney hit a pair of 3-pointers around a free throw by rookie Brendan Haywood,
making it 89-79 with 3:07 to go and bringing out the boobirds.
"It's a tough time for us," Carter said. "We need to get together and figure it out. I believe in us. I hope it's just a slump."
The Raptors had won their last five meetings with the Wizards.
Whitney scored nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter. Haywood had nine points and 11 rebounds and Kwame Brown
added nine and 10, teaming to fuel a first-half comeback.
"Brendan and Kwame are really starting to step in," Jordan said.
who missed the last five games with a sore right knee, collected 12 points and 14 rebounds for Toronto. Hakeem Olajuwon
scored 10 points and moved past Oscar Robertson
into seventh place on the all-time list with 26,714.
Carter began as if he had something to prove. Firing away, he made four 3-pointers, including two in a row that gave Toronto a 33-14 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter.
With Jordan on the bench, his teammates battled back into the game. Brown had eight points and Haywood five in a 20-3 surge that cut the deficit to 36-34.
"Our young kids really helped," Wizards coach Doug Collins said. "Kwame and Brendan came in and we went on a 9-0 run, which changed the momentum of the game."
"When you have a team down, you want to distance yourselves," Wilkens said. "We just didn't execute well. We are struggling, but there is no question we can play better. And we have to stay focused."