BOSTON, Nov. 29 (Ticker) -- Morris Peterson
and Vince Carter
took turns shouldering the offensive burden for the Toronto Raptors.
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Peterson scored a career-high 31 points and Carter added a season-high 23 in his return to the starting lineup as the
Raptors snapped a six-game slide with a 98-95 victory over the Boston Celtics.
Carter started for the first time since injuring his left knee on Nov. 2 and exploded for 16 points in the first quarter.
But Peterson carried the offense in the second half, scoring 15 third-quarter points as Toronto withstood a furious rally by
"My job was to just come in here and create a little bit of energy, just to get the game started and let everybody follow,"
Carter said. "It feels great because we've been playing good basketball, but not for four quarters."
"Having Vince back kind of takes the load off of me," Peterson said. "The first 13 games of the season, I was trying to do too much instead of letting the game come to me. And tonight I made up my mind that I'm going to let the game come to me. I played hard and the shots fell."
The Raptors led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter but were clinging to a 90-89 lead before Peterson's runner with
5:13 left. Neither team made a basket for more than five minutes as Toronto sank 4-of-4 free throws and Boston 3-of-4.
Antonio Davis buried a pair from the line with 22 seconds left for a 96-92 lead and Carter blocked Paul Pierce's layup at the other end. But the Celtics regained possession and pulled within one on Antoine Walker's three-pointer with 10.9 seconds to go.
Toronto's Alvin Williams sank two clutch free throws with 8.9 seconds left and Pierce missed a three-pointer in the final seconds.
In the final period, the Raptors made 6-of-14 shots and 7-of-7 free throws, while the Celtics made just 5-of-21 shots, missing nine of their last 10.
"I just missed some shots, but if I had them again I'd shoot three more just like that," said Celtics guard Tony Delk, who missed a pair of potential go-ahead three-pointers. "We missed shots that we normally make. We missed a few interior shots."
"We were inconsistent again," said Pierce, who made just 6-of-20 shots. "We didn't play good team defense. Some nights are just going to be like that when you play 82 games. We made the extra pass tonight and shots didn't go down."
Davis finished with 13 points and Williams had 12 points and 11 assists for Toronto, which shot 49 percent (38-of-77) and made 15-of-17 from the line.
"(Carter) came out and set the tone," Toronto coach Lenny Wilkens said. "We played hard. You have to play hard against
this team. (Peterson) and Vince really played well together."
Walker tied a season high with 31 points but Pierce was limited to 16 and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who had a four-game
winning streak snapped.
Walker scored 23 points in the first half but made just 2-of-10 shots in the final 24 minutes.
Tony Battie scored 15 points and Walter McCarty added 10 and eight rebounds off the bench for Boston, which shot just 43 percent (35-of-81) despite making 10-of-23 three-pointers.
Peterson scored 15 points in the third quarter. Davis buried a jumper with 3:14 left to give Toronto a 74-62 lead. But the
Celtics responded with 12 straight points, highlighted by five from McCarty.
Shammond Williams, who scored 11 points, buried a jumper to tie it with 78 seconds remaining.
"We didn't run out of gas in the fourth quarter," Pierce said. "If anything, we turned it up. I think we're a fourth-quarter
team. I think that's when we're at our best. We had opportunities we just couldn't get over the top and that's pretty much it."