TORONTO, April 7 (Ticker) --
Eight is the number for the Toronto
Alvin Williams scored 26 points as the Raptors won their eighth
straight game to set a franchise record and took over sole
possession of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern
Conference with a 94-84 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Toronto (38-38) moved one game ahead of Indiana (37-39) for the
final playoff spot in the East and clinched the season series
with its seventh straight win over the Pacers. The teams have
one final meeting Wednesday in Indianapolis.
"It was a big-time win for us. They are a team we're staring
right in the face and both teams wanted it," Toronto coach Lenny
Wilkens said. "Alvin stepped up and hit some big shots and
played great defense."
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Antonio Davis helped the Raptors with 21 points against the Pacers.
nailed back-to-back 3-pointers that gave Indiana
its final lead at 81-78 with 4:15 remaining. Miller led the
Pacers with 26 points.
Keon Clark's follow shot cut the deficit to one point and
triggered a 10-0 run that gave Toronto control. Former Pacer
Antonio Davis' two foul shots gave the Raptors an 82-81 lead.
Williams pulled up on a fast break and took what appeared to be
an ill-advised 3-pointer that he drained for a four-point
cushion. After a steal by Clark, Chris Childs capped the spurt
with a 3-pointer for an 88-81 lead with 1:29 remaining.
"It was just a matter of taking the shot," Childs said. "I
missed a couple earlier but I have to keep on shooting and I'm
glad that one went in."
Toronto's entire winning streak has come without All-Star guard
Vince Carter, who underwent knee surgery and is out for the
While the Raptors are looking just at making the playoffs, they
are close to moving up in the standings. Toronto trails
seventh-place Milwaukee by one game and is two games behind
Davis finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto while
Clark added 15 and nine off the bench. It all helped offset a
poor outing by Morris Peterson, who made just 4-of-17 shots.
Williams has played well in Carter's absence and made 11-of-16
shots. He is averaging 16.8 points over his last five games and
finished just two points shy of his season high.
Toronto used a substantial rebounding advantage to overwhelm
Indiana inside. The Raptors held a 45-26 edge on the glass and
scored 25 second-chance points on 19 offensive rebounds.
"We wanted to go to the boards and, as a matchup, they weren't
that big," Wilkens said. "We were able to have our big guys on
the floor and still be a fast team."
Jerome Williams provided a huge spark with six points and nine
rebounds. Williams had seven offensive rebounds, which equaled
"Rebounds are where the game was won," Pacers coach Isiah Thomas
said. "They got the second-shot opportunities and put the ball
in the basket."
Neither team led by more than six points in a closely contested
first half. The Raptors scored the final six points and took a
46-45 halftime lead on two free throws by Davis.
Miller, who made 6-of-7 3-pointers, got his offense going in the
fourth quarter and scored seven straight points, including two
free throws for a 75-73 lead with 6:26 remaining. He drained a
long 3-pointer over Childs -- whom he battled numerous times in
the playoffs when Childs was with New York -- for the 81-78 edge
with 4:15 to go.
"I've been chasing him for years and I had a hand in his face,"
Childs said. "But he's such a great shooter and hit two big
threes for them in the fourth."
But Miller struggled down the stretch, managing just a pair of
free throws in the final four minutes. He also made a bad pass
that resulted in Childs' 3-pointer.
"Now we are asking for help," Miller said. "We were up three
points with four minutes left."
Jermaine O'Neal scored 24 points and Brad Miller added 15 for
Indiana, which lost for the sixth time in eight games. Brad
Miller's eight rebounds led the Pacers.