Carter, Raptors Squash Hornets

Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker pose on the red carpet at the world premiere of their film, "Failure to Launch," at Clearview Chelsea West Cinemas in New York, Wednesday, March 8, 2006.
AP Photo/Stuart Ramson

The Toronto Raptors may just be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

Vince Carter scored 25 points and five other Raptors scored in double figures as Toronto beat the Charlotte Hornets 109-99 Sunday.

The Raptors have won three straight games after losing their season opener. The Hornets, expected to be one of the top teams in the East, have lost two in a row after winning their first two.

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  • "We can beat anybody," said Carter, whose team has also beat Miami and New Jersey.

    Carter, known for his high-flying dunks, did much of his damage from the outside Sunday as all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter came on jumpers.

    "I'm confident. I'm just letting them go," said last season's NBA Rookie of the Year.

    After David Wesley scored 15 of his 23 points in a 17-5 third-quarter run for Charlotte, Carter nailed a key 3-pointer to put the Raptors up by five.

    The Hornets could get no closer than three points the rest of the way as Carter made 15-foot jumpers throughout the fourth quarter. He finished 12-of-25 from the field and also had five assists.

    Ex-Hornets Dell Curry and Muggsy Bogues had big games against their former team.

    Curry, who had 14 points, scored six of them in a decisive 12-4 run in the fourth quarter. His 3-pointer with five minutes left gave the Raptors a 99-83 lead.

    "I put in a lot of years there and you want to show the team that didn't want you that you still have it," Curry said.

    Curry had nine points in the fourth quarter and Bogues had five assists.

    Bogues finished with 10 points and 11 assists. Tracy McGrady added 14 points for the Raptors, who shot 54 percenfrom the field, while Doug Christie added 13 and Charles Oakley 10.

    "Dell and Muggsy played great, and Vince did his thing," Raptors forward Charles Oakley said. "We've played some good teams, but we're showing what kind of team we are."

    Eddie Jones had 26 points for the Hornets, who committed 23 turnovers that led to 36 points.

    Charlotte coach Paul Silas said the turnovers were a big key.

    "We were in the game but then we had two or three turnovers," he said. "The Raptors are capable of making the playoffs. They disrupt on defense, they score and they didn't use Doug Christie that much. That shows their depth."

    The Raptors built a 10-point lead midway through the second quarter that included two spectacular plays by Carter. Bogues launched an alley-oop pass that appeared to be going out of bounds, but Carter with his shoulders above the rim extended in midair and dunked it. Carter then deflected a cross-court pass, Tracy McGrady caught it and passed it to Carter, who then passed it back to McGrady for a layup, foul and three-point play.

    Charlotte rallied with an 8-2 run late in the quarter to close within four points at halftime.

    Notes

  • Hornets rookie Baron Davis will have an MRI on his left knee Monday. Davis hurt it last Friday in a game against Boston, but it wasn't enough to keep him out of Sunday's game. He played seven minutes and said it locked up on him twice. "If the the MRI shows a tear, we'll have to make a decision," Silas said.
  • Antonio Davis had 12 rebounds for the Raptors.
  • Jones had eight rebounds.
  • The Raptors outscored the Hornets 36-24 in the paint.
  • The Raptors are 3-1 for the first time in franchise history.

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