CLEVELAND, March 22 (Ticker) --
The Toronto Raptors found the recipe for winning without Vince Carter
. Just add a pinch of solid defense to a dash of Cleveland Cavaliers. Morris Peterson
led five Raptors in double figures with 18 points as the Raptors kept their fading playoff hopes alive with a 94-80 rout of the Cavaliers.
The Raptors have played themselves out of a playoff spot by losing 17 of the past 19 games and are 4 1/2 games out of the final postseason spot. But they won for the first time this season without Carter, who is having knee surgery next week and will miss the rest of the regular season.
"I think everybody has to pick up his level of play," Peterson said. "When you have a guy like Vince who means a great deal to us and he's out for a while, there's a sense of urgency."
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Mo Pete led a solid Raptor attack with 18 points, half of them coming in the third quarter.
David Liam Kyle
scored 15 points for Cleveland, which shot 30 percent (12-of-40) from the field in the first half and trailed at the break, 47-32. The Cavs have lost five of their last seven.
"We wanted to get off to a good start and we were glad they weren't making their shots," Peterson said.
The Raptors took control with 2 1/2 minutes left in a sluggish first quarter when Antonio Davis'
jumper snapped an 11-11 tie, igniting a 14-0 run that spanned the rest of the period and almost two minutes of the second.
"We stunk again at home," Cavs coach John Lucas said. "I thought neither team wanted to win at the beginning. I just didn't see any pizzazz or any leadership or any direction from my team today. We all stunk, me and the whole team. I thought it was bad basketball by both teams, but it was a good win for them."
Toronto took its biggest lead of the half at 40-21 when Davis sank two free throws with 5:05 left. Davis finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and two steals for the Raptors, who shot 48 percent (39-of-82) from the field. Jerome Williams
added 14 points, Eric Montross
13 and Keon Clark
chipped in with 12 as the Raptors posted their biggest margin of victory since a 107-88 win over Philadelphia on November 25.
"I thought we played hard, (Chris) Childs
took that fall and he's out for a while and Curry's back tightens up and he's out of the game. All of a sudden we've got Alvin Williams
and Jermaine Jackson
at guard," Toronto coach Lenny Wilkens said. "Injuries just don't seem to end, but it was a good win." Ricky Davis
scored 12 points and Brian Skinner
11 for Cleveland, which shot 38 percent (31-of-82) from the floor and 15-of-24 from the line while holding a 48-43 rebounding edge.
The Cavs failed to make a sustained run in the second half. They got as close as 53-41 on Tyrone Hill's
three-point play 3:17 into the third quarter but could edge no closer.
"It was just a poor performance, and you hate to see that," said Cleveland's Bryant Stith
, who was held to five points in 17 minutes. "We're a sexy basketball team, if you want to put it that way, and tonight we weren't very pretty."