Carter Propels Raptors To 1st W

Raptors' Vince Carter tends to bloody nose after he collided with Wizard's Michael Smith. AP

The Toronto Raptors needed something from someone other than Vince Carter. Alvin Williams provided it.

Carter had a season-high 34 points, but it was the scoring touch of backup guard Williams that ended the Raptors' three-game skid to open the season with a 103-96 victory over Washington Wizards on Saturday night.

Williams had a career-high 22 points, 18 in the fourth quarter, as the Raptors ended the worst start in their six-year history.

"I realized (he set a personal high) but I wasn't focused on that," said Williams, whose previous best was 19 two years ago. "The points were coming, the opportunities to score were coming and we were winning and that's the most important thing."

Carter, who has shouldered most of the offensive load since Toronto lost Tracy McGrady to free agency, was 10-of-22 and a perfect 12-of-12 from the line. He had 12 points in the first quarter alone.

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Game Summary

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  • Antonio Davis had 14 points while Mark Jackson added 12 assists. Toronto was 28-of-34 from the line.

    Carter provided his usual show-stopping moves, but it was Williams who ensured the victory with clutch outside shots down the stretch.

    Mitch Richmond led Washington with 22 points while Juwan Howard added 21. Gerard King had 14 points of the bench. Rod Strickland had 16 points and 12 assists. Jahidi White had 11 rebounds.

    Richmond led a late charge in the fourth quarter with three 3-pointers to close the gap to 92-87 with three minutes left, but Carter made a tough outside shot and Williams nailed another jumper to give Toronto a 97-88 lead with a minute left.

    "I think we had good play off the bench. I can't say enough about Alvin Williams. He stepped up big for us," said Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens, whose bench outscored Washington's 46-24. "Someone will emerge (as another scoring threat). If we have to count on a few guys getting 12-14 points I'll be happy. They don't need to get 20 a game."

    Entering the game, Carter was the only Raptor to have scored at least 20 points this season. He and Jackson teamed up for three crowd-pleasing alley-oops in the first half.

    Jackson first set up Carter midway through the first quarter, and the duo had the crowd roaring 20 seconds later when Carter took a Jackson pass mid-air for a reverse dunk that gave Toronto an early 18-16 lead.

    The Raptors opened a 14-point lead four minutes into the second when Carter nailed a 3-pointer, but the Wizards slowly crept back into it. King brought the deficit to 67-66 on a short jumper with 3:15 left in the third, but that was as close as the Wizards got.

    "Williams was the difference. He made tough shots in the fourth," said Howard, who was booed when he fouled out with 31.7 seconds left for an aggressive foul on Williams. "He really turned things around."

    Notes

  • Wizard Popeye Jones is out at least two months after undergoing surgery on a broken index finger in his left hand.
  • Davis fouled out with 3:41 left in the game.
  • Washington shot 55 percent in the first quarter and only 35 percent in the second.
  • Carter missed four minutes to begin the second quarter after taking an elbow to the mouth.
  • Howard nailed his first five shots .
  • The Wizards are 8-2 at home versus the Raptors but only 2-8 at Toronto.
  • New Raptor Mark Jackson is second in the NBA with 12 assists per game. No Raptor has ever averaged 10 in a season.


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