MILWAUKEE, Feb. 4 (Ticker) --
The Toronto Raptors knew they could count on a healthy Vince Carter
to provide offense. Now they know they can count on his defense, too.
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Carter led six players in double figures with 25 points and blocked Ray Allen
's potential tying three-pointer with less than a second remaining, allowing the Raptors to post a season-high third straight victory, 98-95 over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Antonio Davis added 16 points and 16 rebounds, Morris Peterson scored 14 points and Jerome Williams 13 and nine for the Raptors, who have won four of five since a five-game losing streak.
"It's good when everyone sticks together," Davis said. "We kept our head up and concentrated. We are going to continue to
fight after the (All-Star) break, get back to business. I think at this point if we haven't learned anything else, it is that we have to continue to fight. Everything bad that could happen to us has happened. It couldn't get much worse."
The undermanned Raptors, who used an eight-man rotation, held a 10-point halftime lead before the Bucks got hot on the
perimeter. They streaked to an 85-78 advantage on a three-pointer by Michael Redd three minutes into the fourth quarter.
But Davis scored on a follow dunk with 8:36 to play to start a 19-7 run, which ended on a tip-in by Williams that gave the
Raptors a 97-92 edge with 1:21 left. After Redd's three-point play with 28 seconds remaining got the Bucks within two points, Williams rebounded a missed jumper by teammate Alvin Williams and was fouled with 2.3 seconds to go.
Jerome Williams made only 1-of-2 free throws, giving the Bucks one last chance. After a timeout, Milwaukee inbounded to Allen near the left corner. But Carter swooped in and swatted the ball out of bounds with 0.2 seconds left, and the Bucks could not get off another shot before the buzzer.
"Vince made a great block," Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens said. "We were going to foul them right away so they would only get
two shots, but he was in such great position, he made a heck of a block."
"I was trying to send Ray the other way, but he refused," Carter said. "He gets the ball off quickly, so I figured if I get up just a little before he did, I could time it right, and it worked."
Redd scored 24 points, Allen added 21 and Sam Cassell 20 for Milwaukee, which had won 10 of 12. The Bucks fell to 2-2 on their season-high eight-game homestand.
"Not a lot of teams come back when they are down at the half, (and) our percentage is lower than most," Bucks coach George
Karl said. "Having a lead throughout the first three quarters is a big advantage in this league. Tonight we had a lead and we blew it. When we had the lead we got outhustled, and we didn't have that killer instinct."
The Raptors grabbed 18 of their 42 rebounds on the offensive glass and had a 9-0 advantage in offensive rebounds in the
"We got outworked, outenergized, and at the end of the game we got outrebounded," Karl said. "We let them have way too many
possessions. It's very disheartening when you have an opportunity to do some good stuff and we don't put our effort
and energy in it to win the game. They won the game because they wanted it more than we did."
"We didn't rebound well at all tonight and that's why we lost the game," Cassell said. "We can't sit here and cry about it,
though. Sometimes you have games like that in this league. We need to forget this game and focus on improving for Thursday's game against the Sonics."
Toronto jumped out to an 11-2 lead and took a 27-20 edge into the second quarter.
"You could see it from the start of the game tonight, we weren't ready to play," Redd said. "Toronto came out and wanted this game from the opening tap on. ... You can't let a team come into your house and build confidence early like we did tonight."