TORONTO, April 3 (Ticker) --
The loss of Vince Carter
has not hurt
the Toronto Raptors' offense and has actually helped their
scored 26 points and Antonio Davis
added 25 and
13 rebounds as the Raptors had six players score in double
figures and cruised to their season-high sixth straight
victory, a 117-104 triumph over the Chicago Bulls.
Toronto (36-38) was eight games under .500 and had slim playoff
hopes when it was announced Carter would undergo season-ending
knee surgery on March 25. The Raptors are unbeaten since their
leading scorer went down and saw their offense explode against
the porous Bulls' defense.
"A lot of people counted us out," Peterson said. "We will
concentrate on one game at a time and get through the next
eight games. We always said that we are a team capable of
making the playoffs and we are making a run."
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Play of the Day:
Antonio Davis has stepped up in Carter's absence, with at least 14 points in all six games.
Toronto scored a season-high 37 points in the first quarter and
had 70 by halftime, matching its best output of the season. The
Raptors' 117 points also matched a season high set at Utah on
Chicago had a 31-29 lead with 1:34 left in the first quarter
before Keon Clark
sank a jumper to forge a tie and spark a 25-7
run. Clark scored nine of his 18 points during the spurt and
capped it with a jumper to give Toronto a 54-38 cushion with
7:18 remaining in the first half.
Clark and Davis combined to make 18-of-26 shots for the
Raptors, who shot 54 percent (47-of-87) from the floor and
buried 6-of-12 3-pointers.
"Every game that we have won during the streak, we've improved
something," Clark said. "We've turned it around and it is a
good thing that this is a marathon and not a sprint."
"It's a good feeling we are all on the same page right now,"
Davis said. "I'm excited and cautious about the way we are
playing. We're in control of what we're going to do down the
stretch, which is a good feeling."
collected 16 points and 10 rebounds and Alvin
had 12 points and 10 assists as Toronto held a 45-34
rebounding edge and piled up 32 assists.
scored nine of his 12 points in the second quarter
as the Raptors moved within one-half game of Indiana (36-37)
for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We have to play one game at a time," Wilkens said. "We can't
look at Indiana because we play Chicago next. The guys feel
good about themselves. We depend on each other because it is
the only way we can survive and that's what the guys are doing."
scored 30 points and rookie Tyson Chandler
and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who have lost seven straight
"Our offense wasn't the problem, it was our defensive retreat
and our inability to stop them," Chicago coach Bill Cartwright
said. "We didn't guard them well until the end of the game."
Reserve Marcus Fizer
scored 14 points and Eddie Robinson
10 as Chicago shot 49 percent (29-of-79) and made 24-of-32 free
"The shots were falling," Bulls rookie Eddy Curry
need more effort on defense. Our defense stops us from winning
against a lot of teams."
Toronto had its largest lead at 91-66 with 5:13 left in the
third quarter and had a 102-82 cushion with 11:15 remaining.
But Rose scored 10 points as Chicago responded with a 16-6 run,
pulling within 108-98 on a dunk by Chandler with 5:03 to go.
Rose buried a 3-pointer with 1:59 remaining to bring the Bulls
within 113-104. But Williams sank a jumper and Chicago's slim
comeback hopes died when Rose fouled out with 63 seconds left.
The teams play the final game of a home-and-home series at the
United Center on Sunday.