Carter scored six of his 28 points in the final minute, including the winning basket with 14 seconds left, to give the Raptors a 103-101 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.
"We needed scoring from somewhere, and I just said that I was taking it to the basket," Carter said. "A win like this will help us prove that we can play with the very best."
The Pistons led by 11 points with 7:30 left and five with 55 seconds left, but they couldn't stop Carter. The rookie scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, including 11 in the final 6:13 to lead the Raptors' comeback.
"That's a young and athletic team with tons of ability, and you saw them at their very best tonight," said Pistons guard Joe Dumars. "And Vince Carter is a very gifted player who has a great future in this league."
Toronto, playing its third game in three nights, scored 37 points in the fourth quarter.
"We knew we had a chance if we could get it down to seven or eight points by the halfway mark," said Dee Brown, who scored all 19 of his points in the second half. "We wanted to do what only two other teams have done won three games in three nights."
Detroit had a chance at a last shot, but Grant Hill lost a pass out of bounds.
Bison Dele scored 23 points for Detroit. Jerry Stackhouse added 19 points and Hill finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Christian Laettner made his Pistons debut after missing the first 22 games of the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. He scored three points in 19 minutes.
Laettner will still have to wait to play for Pistons coach Alvin Gentry, though. Gentry missed the game with the flu, and assistant Gar Heard coached the team.
"This is a tough one," Heard said. "I thought we had control of the game, and we let it get away."
Detroit only led 51-46 at halftme, but opened the second half with a 9-3 run to boost the lead to 11 points.
Brown kept Toronto in the game with three 3-pointers, but Jerry Stackhouse's 30-footer at the end of the third-quarter put the Pistons up 77-66. Stackhouse, who has been struggling on offense, held the shooting pose for several seconds as his teammates mobbed him.
"All I can take from this game is that we lost," Stackhouse said. "I hit a couple shots, but I didn't think I was going to keep missing everything for the rest of the season. Hopefully, it's over now."
Dele scored eight points in the first five minutes of the fourth period, but the Raptors came back with a 9-0 run to pull within 87-85 with 5:23 left.
Brown's jumper tied the game at 91 with 3:51 left, but Hill and Jerome Williams then scored for Detroit.
Carter made two baskets in the last minute to get Toronto within 101-100, then ran down an errant inbounds pass by Dumars and hit a running 10-footer to put Toronto ahead.
"With two minutes left, I told Vince that if he wanted to be out there, he had to show me what he had," said Toronto coach Butch Carter. "I guess I should have asked for more."
Notes: Pistons TV announcer George Blaha had to be relieved at halftime because of laryngitis. ... Detroit placed rookie Korleone Young (back spasms) on the injured list to make room for Laettner. ... Until Wednesday, Toronto had never scored 100 points against the Pistons in 13 tries. ... Toronto's Charles Oakley was called for a flagrant foul in the second quarter when he sent Jerome Williams flying on a layup attempt. ... Toronto's Kevin Willis (shoulder) missed his second game in a row.
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