TORONTO, April 9 (Ticker) --
The Toronto Raptors simply refuse to lose.
scored 24 points, including the go-ahead free throws, as the Raptors extended their franchise-record winning streak to nine games with an 84-80 triumph over the Charlotte Hornets.
After Jamal Mashburn
hit a pair from the line to give Charlotte an 80-74 lead with 5:09 remaining, the Raptors clamped down on defense, blanking the Hornets for the rest of the contest and forcing them to miss their final 10 shots.
Toronto climbed within 80-78 on a layup by Davis with 3:45 to play, and tied the game on a jumper by Alvin Williams
with 2:07 left. After Mashburn missed a jumper, P.J. Brown
tipped in the miss but the basket was waved off after he was cited for pushing Davis out of position for the rebound.
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Mo Pete scored nine of his 15 points in Toronto's dominating second quarter.
Davis sank the ensuing free throws with 34 seconds left to give Toronto an 82-80 lead. Mashburn then missed a jumper, grabbed
the rebound and missed a layup. Mo Peterson
snagged the rebound of the second shot, was fouled and hit two free throws with seven seconds remaining to close out the scoring.
"Our defense has been terrific," Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens said. "When we call for the trap, the guys are there. You just
have to have hands in their face when they're taking shots and play hard defense."
Davis shot 11-of-16 and added seven rebounds and seven assists for the Raptors (39-38), who moved into a seventh-place tie with Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference and two games ahead of Indiana for the eighth and final playoff spot. Both teams have
five games remaining, including a matchup at Conseco Fieldhouse on Wednesday.
"That was a lot of fun," Davis said. "When a team is down but everyone's heads are up, talking about rotations, that shows me
confidence. That was a good team and a good test for us but we are not satisfied. ... Now we are greedy and hungry and it has
nothing to do with Indiana or the playoffs. We embarrassed ourselves in front of our fans (during a nine-game home losing
streak in February and March) and we just want to win as many games as we can."
Peterson added 15 points and seven assists and Jerome Williams
12 and eight rebounds for Toronto, which earned a split of its season series with Charlotte and improved to just 9-30 when trailing after three quarters.
"Our attitude is that if you're going to shoot, it will be tough," Peterson said. "We are playing with a sense of urgency.
We have to worry about one play, one second at a time. You have to play like it is your last possession each time."
The Raptors had lost 17 of 18 games and learned that All-Star guard Vince Carter
had elected to undergo season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his left knee before their current streak.
"I've accepted the fact that I can't play," said Carter before the game. "I'm not worried about coming back, I'm worried about
walking. The guys are doing their job -- they will take care of their end and I will take care of mine."
Mashburn scored 21 points but shot 8-of-28 for the Hornets (41-36), who are tied with Philadelphia for fifth place in the
East but just two games ahead of Toronto. Brown added 16 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
"We just missed shots, that is pretty much it," Mashburn said. "We simply missed shots and we had the opportunities to make
some shots. Offensively we got the ball to the guys who usually make them, but give them credit, they played well. Sometimes
that is the way it goes."
"It was the kind of game that we expected," Brown said. "We knew coming in that they were playing really well and it could go
down to the wire. They made plays down the stretch that we crucial. The foul on Davis and him knocking down his free throws
was the biggest play in the last minute."
Charlotte shot 53 percent in the first quarter (9-of-17) and built a 26-14 lead. Toronto closed to 46-44 at the half and
trailed 64-62 after three quarters.
The Hornets were limited to 41 percent overall (30-of-73), including an abysmal eight percent (1-of-13) from the arc. The
Raptors connected on 46 percent of their attempts (36-of-79).
"We missed shots, we missed wide-open shots," Hornets coach Paul Silas said. "Not to take anything away from them but P.J.
missed a couple, Stacey (Augmon)
missed a few at the line and those are shots we normally make. Every shot we took was a good
Charlotte made only 19-of-29 free throws, while Toronto sank 9-of-11.
"I thought we played a great game," Silas said. "We played good D and shut down their boards in the second half. Our shot
selection was good, we just missed key ones down the stretch. We need to regroup, go home and get ready to play Atlanta (on