TORONTO May 2 (AP)
-- Vince Carter
threw down a windmill dunk the first time he touched the ball, setting the tone for Toronto. Chris Childs
had the best playoff game of his career, keeping the Knicks down.
| Alvin Williams scored 18 points, helping send the series back to New York for Game 5.|
Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE Photos
| NBA.com TV highlights: 28.8+ |
Carter scored 32 points, Childs had 25 and the Raptors looked nothing like the overanxious, poor-executing bunch of three days earlier as they beat New York 100-93 Wednesday night to tie their best-of-five series at 2-2 and force a deciding fifth game Friday night.
"We got whipped. It started from the first dunk," Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said.
After being criticized by teammate Charles Oakley
for failing to act like a superstar and deflecting criticism onto the team as a whole, Carter had a different look in his eye right from the outset.
He drove right around Latrell Sprewell
just over two minutes into the game for a thunderous, highlight-reel dunk. It fired up the crowd, his teammates and Carter himself, and he continued to look to drive to the basket rather than continually settle for the type of outside shots that contributed to him shooting 31 percent in the first three games.
"That was the first open drive I had all series, and my eyes felt as big as my face," Carter said. "That's the best start any player could have -- an easy layup -- and I think it helped me settle down."
Carter finished 10-for-22 from the field and 10-for-14 from the line with seven rebounds and four assists.
"One thing I told myself before I left my house today was 'Lay it all on the line, give it all you've got and see what happens.' When I woke up, it was the funniest feeling: I was ready to play right there and give it all I had," Carter said.
The Raptors controlled the offensive boards, played intense defense and broke the game open with a 12-1 run beginning late in the third quarter to send the series back to Madison Square Garden for one more game. Alvin Williams
bounced back from a poor Game 3 and added 18 points, while reserve Jerome Williams
provided boundless energy and tight defense on Glen Rice
to help shut down the Knicks' offense in the second half.
But the biggest added contribution came from Childs, who was traded from New York to Toronto in February.
"It isn't individual satisfaction, it's team satisfaction. It just happens that we met these guys in the first round," Childs said. "It feels good just doing it in the playoffs. Everybody is watching, and everyone says this is where you make your name -- in the playoffs."
Following his first dunk, Carter added another dunk, a 3-pointer and a 20-footer to help Toronto to a 26-22 lead after one quarter.
hit all five of his shots in the first half and Sprewell went 5-for-8, yet the Knicks trailed 44-41 at halftime despite shooting 60 percent. Working against them were their 12 turnovers and just one offensive rebound, which allowed Toronto to play with the lead for most of the half.
Childs scored on a finger roll early in the third for a 56-47 lead, but the Knicks kept finding high-percentage shots and chipping away at the lead until Mark Jackson
tied it at 62-all on two free throws with 3:23 left in the third.
picked up his fourth foul moments later, and Childs picked up his fourth and fifth fouls in the final two minutes of the third. The Knicks committed just one turnover in the quarter, yet they still trailed 70-64 entering the fourth after Carter scored four points from the free throw line in the final minute.
The Raptors blocked New York's first two shots of the fourth, and Carter hit a 3-pointer with 11:18 left and then fed Alvin Williams
for a corner jumper that gave Toronto a 75-64 lead.
hit a jumper off an offensive rebound and Carter turned a putback into a three-point play to put Toronto ahead 84-70 with 7:16 left. New York responded with a 12-4 run as Toronto couldn't connect from the field, but Childs made a 3-pointer with 1:28 left for a 93-82 lead.
The Knicks pulled within five and Carter missed two foul shots with 20 seconds left, but the Raptors grabbed their 11th offensive rebound and Childs hit two foul shots with 16 seconds left to ice the victory.
Game 5 is at 8 p.m. Friday, and the winner will advance to play the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round beginning Sunday.
In order for the Raptors to get there, Carter will need to come up with one more performance to end all the talk that he is an overhyped young player for whom superstardom has come too easily.
"He's a young guy, he's still learning the way you silence the critics," Childs said. "We've talked to him, guys have said things to him. I think he took to heart what Oakley said, and he didn't wait."
Houston scored 27 points and Sprewell had 24 to lead the Knicks, who got little help from Marcus Camby
in his first game in almost a week. Camby finished with four points, four rebounds and four fouls in 33 minutes.
Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky attended the game and got a huge ovation. ... Most of the Raptors donned headbands for the game, although Davis and Alvin Williams
did not. Carter wore knee-high white socks. ... Toronto rookie Morris Peterson
, who did not play in Game 3, went 0-for-2 in six first-half minutes and did not return.