TORONTO, Dec. 20 (Ticker) --
After Vince Carter
was clotheslined by Charles Oakley,
he hung the Chicago Bulls out to dry.
Carter responded to Oakley's flagrant foul by scoring 12 of his 32 points in the final nine minutes, rallying the Toronto Raptors to a 96-91 victory over the punchless Bulls.
Oakley returned to Toronto for the first time since last season, when he helped the Raptors reach the Eastern Conference semifinals but often publicly chided Carter for his lack of leadership. The dialogue ultimately involved Carter's mother.
"I saw him before the game and things were good," Carter said. "It is tough love."
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Vince Carter scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, leading a big comeback for the Raptors.
"He's not family; we're just friends," Oakley said.
During the offseason, Oakley requested a trade and Toronto sent him to Chicago, where the burly 6-9 forward began his NBA career 16 years ago. With the Bulls, he has publicly feuded with coach Tim Floyd, drawing a $50,000 fine from the team in November.
The Bulls led 71-65 entering the final period, but Carter opened with a two-handed follow hammer dunk. With 8:52 to go, Carter soared for a fast-break layup and Oakley wrapped his right arm around Carter's head and neck, knocking him to the floor.
"It's just basketball. It was just a foul," Oakley said. "He went from one side to the other side. I've seen worse fouls than that. They didn't have to carry him off the court. He got up and made his free throws, so it wasn't that bad."
"I don't think he meant to but it definitely was a way of telling me to step it up," Carter said. "I know Oak didn't mean it."
It was Oakley's sixth foul and also a flagrant-2, disqualifying him. He left to a chorus of boos and Carter took over, scoring 13 points as the Raptors surged to their 11th straight win over the Bulls.
"Oak was just being Oak," Carter said. "It looked worse than it felt, but it still hurt. That foul helped me and woke me up."
"Oak is a fierce competitor," Raptors forward Antonio Davis
said. "He knows his team isn't that good and he is just trying to give them a spark. I know he loves Vince dearly and wouldn't do anything to intentionally hurt him."
Davis had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Jerome Williams
had 11 and 11 for Toronto, which has won two in a row following a four-game losing streak.
"Vince Carter is a great player, but those two other guys are great offensive rebounders," Floyd said.
had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who blew a 17-point lead and suffered their fifth straight loss. Chicago fell to 0-14 on the road, where it is the NBA's only winless team.
Oakley played just 13 minutes, collecting four points and two rebounds. His shot on Carter was the only one Chicago connected on in the first eight-plus minutes of the final period.
"The Raptors will win some games, but it's what you do in the playoffs," Oakley said. "Can you advance to the next round? Vince is their superstar and he stepped up his game and we couldn't do anything to stop him."
Carter made the free throws and Davis had a follow shot on the ensuing possession, giving Toronto a 71-71 tie. The Raptors took the lead for good on a jumper by Dell Curry
and Carter hit two more from the line to cap a 10-0 run.
"The foul ended up helping us, but then again, Oak has always helped us win, when he was playing with us and now when he's playing against us," Davis said. "We needed something to happen to wake us up, to rattle us."
two foul shots finally got Chicago on the board at the 6:44 mark. Carter made it 79-74 with a long jumper from the top of the arc with 5:52 left and extended the lead to 85-78 on a pull-up jumper just over two minutes later.
layup -- Chicago's first basket of the period -- and two free throws by Miller made it a three-point game with 3:29 remaining. Carter responded with a high-arcing shot on a drive.
With 1:15 left and Toronto holding an 89-85 lead, Carter spun through two defenders with a dribble and made a layup.
"Vince had a terrific night," Fizer said. "He didn't do much in the first half, so we knew he would come out hard in the second. And we did all we could to contain him. But when a guy is that skilled, it's tough."
scored 10 points and Curry added nine for the Raptors, who shot 46 percent (37-of-81) and held a 46-35 edge on the boards to overcome an awful first half.
"It was like we were running in sand," said Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens, whose team won at Indiana on Wednesday night. "It was a slow start and we had to fight through it. We didn't get home until 2 a.m. and probably weren't in bed until 3 a.m."
Fizer had 19 points and nine rebounds and Ron Mercer
scored 14 points for the Bulls, who shot 45 percent (36-of-80) and had all five starters in double figures.
Carter and the Raptors got off to a terrible start and trailed, 21-4, less than eight minutes into the game. They fought back within 47-39 at halftime.
"We looked like a high school team out there," Carter said. "I know I wasn't happy with our performance and I knew we needed to turn things around."
"This has got to be one of the most frustrating losses," said Fizer, who scored 14 points in the first half. "They have a great ballclub, but for us to jump ahead that quick and not be able to sustain our concentration, it's very frustrating. We have to learn how to pull out games like that."