TORONTO, Jan. 31 (Ticker) -- Vince Carter
scored 27 points and Keon Clark
scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Toronto Raptors erased a 17-point second-half deficit and defeated the Boston Celtics, 97-92.
The Celtics led 75-63 entering the fourth quarter, but the Raptors began the period on a 22-9 run. Antonio Davis
capped the burst with a tip-in with 3:41 left.
After Paul Pierce
hit 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game, 85-85, Toronto's Alvin Williams
scored on a driving layup with 2:36 left. Boston's Antoine Walker
was called for a charge and Carter hit a jumper with 2:05 left to give the Raptors an 89-85 edge.
With Pierce in his face, Carter hit a fadeaway jumper with 92 seconds left to give Toronto a six-point edge. Carter then picked up his sixth foul with 74 seconds remaining, and Tony Battie
hit two free throws to get the Celtics within 91-87.
NBA.comTV highlights from Celtics-Raptors:
Antonio Davis makes the most of this easy bucket in a night when his shot was a little off. Still, AD recorded a double-double.
Clark hit 1-of-2 from the line with 35 seconds to go before Walker hit a 3-pointer five seconds later to get Boston within 92-20.
Davis missed a jumper and Walker got the rebound and called timeout with 13 seconds left, but Chris Childs
stole the ensuing inbounds pass intended for Pierce, was fouled and hit 1-of-2 at the line.
"I couldn't believe (Eric Williams)
threw it," Childs said. "I was more open than (Pierce) was. It was a matter of having the determination to win this game."
Pierce was fouled with eight seconds left and hit a pair at the line to get within 93-92, but Dell Curry
sank a pair of free throws a second later, and Williams iced the game with a steal and a pair of free throws with three seconds left.
"(My fourth-quarter play) was big because the first three quarters I let my teammates down and got into early foul trouble," Clark said. "But it's how you finish and we finished with a `W.'"
Carter shot just 10-of-27 but led six Raptors in double figures and pulled down 10 rebounds.
"It's one of our proudest wins because of the caliber of the team and us being able to stick together and pull it out," Carter said. "We believe in each other and trust each other, and we played hard for 48 minutes."
"He's a great player," said Pierce of Carter, whom he guarded. "He came alive in the fourth quarter, even when I felt like I was playing good defense. That's why he's an All-Star."
Walker had 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Celtics. Pierce added 22 points but shot 5-of-24.
"They had great emotion and we couldn't meet that challenge," Walker said. "We played careless and gave them opportunities to get back in. We turned the ball over and stopped doing the things we did in the first three quarters."
"They picked up their play and got in our face," Pierce said. "They came at us with aggression and we let them. We need to put this behind us and move on."
Though both teams finished with 43 rebounds, Toronto had 13 and the Celtics just two in the final quarter. Boston's fourth-quarter total tied Toronto's franchise record for fewest rebounds allowed in a quarter.
"I give the guys a lot of credit, they really picked it up," Toronto coach Lenny Wilkens said. "I talked to them at the half about being outrebounded, and by the end we tied it up."
"We didn't get any real good shot selection in the last quarter," Boston coach Jim O'Brien said. "The Raptors played with great intensity and fought back. They outrebounded us 13-2. Antonio and Keon played amazing and are great rebounders."
Clark started in place of Hakeem Olajuwon
, who was placed on the injured list on Thursday with a right quadriceps strain.
With Boston ahead 52-47 a minute into the second half, Pierce hit a basket to start a 16-4 run that was capped by a 3-pointer by Walker with 6:49 left to give the Celtics their biggest edge, 68-51.
Neither team shot well. Toronto made 41 percent (35-of-86) of its attempts, while Boston was even worse, converting just 39 percent (32-of-82).
With the victory, Toronto set a record for its best month in franchise history. The Raptors went 11-5 in January, besting their 11-6 mark in March 1999.