Carter, Clark rally Raptors past Celtics


TORONTO (AP) -- Vince Carter knows the Toronto Raptors stole a
victory from the Boston Celtics.

Carter scored 27 points, and Toronto rallied from a 17-point
deficit to beat the Boston 97-92 Thursday night.

"I'm happy with how we finished today," said Carter, who also
had five steals and 10 rebounds as the Raptors extended their
winning streak to three games. "None of us are afraid to do the
dirty work."

Keon Clark had 16 points and six rebounds for the Raptors, who
won for the ninth time in 12 games. Antonio Davis added 12 points
and 13 rebounds.

The victory was No. 74 for coach Lenny Wilkens, who became the
winningest coach in the franchise's seven-year history.

"The defense was good in the second half," Wilkens said. "We
wanted to switch it up, double-team at times, so we really stepped
it up."

Antoine Walker, who committed several key turnovers in the
fourth quarter, finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds for the
Celtics. Paul Pierce shot 5-for-24 from the field and finished with
22 points. Tony Battie added 16 points and nine rebounds.

The Raptors rallied in the fourth quarter behind Clark, who
started in place of the injured Hakeem Olajuwon.

"I got into early foul trouble and let my team down the first
three quarters," Clark said. "But I made up for it in the fourth
quarter and that's all that matters. Nobody put their head down
(when they fell behind)."

Clark scored six straight points and finished with 12 in the
period. He made two free throws, a layup and a dunk, off a pass
from Chris Childs, to cut the Raptors' deficit to 77-71 just 2:20
into the quarter.

Davis gave Toronto its first lead since the opening minute, when
he tipped Childs' missed 3-pointer for an 85-84 lead with 3:39

The Raptors took the lead for good with 2:35 remaining when
Carter picked up a Walker turnover and passed to Alvin Williams,
who made a layup to give Toronto an 87-85 lead.

"We have to do a better job to close out the game," said
Walker, who had seven turnovers. "They fed off emotion at the end
of the game. We played careless and gave them opportunities to get
back in. We need to bounce back, we need to forget this."

Carter fouled out with 1:14 left on a Battie drive to the
basket. Carter was upset with the call and had to be restrained by

The Celtics had two chances to tie it in the final seconds, but
Childs and Alvin Williams made steals.

"This was a huge, huge win for this team," Childs said. "We
want to dominate on home court, and to be down (17) points and come
back against a hot-shooting team like that lets us know we need to
play like that the entire game."

Boston shot 46 percent in the first half and led 50-45 at the
break. Toronto shot 36 percent in the opening half.

Walker and Pierce, who is still hampered by a sore left wrist he
injured on a dunk against the Raptors on Jan. 21, made back-to-back
3-pointers to give the Celtics a 64-51 lead 3:31 into the third

"We blew the game," Pierce said. "It was a huge loss,
especially since we controlled most of the game."

Game notes
The Raptors' three previous coaches (Carter, Darrell Walker
and Brendan Malone) had losing records. ... Battie returned to the
starting lineup after missing one game with a right hip flexor and
fouled out with 35.9 seconds left. ... The Raptors activated
Michael Stewart to take Olajuwon's place. The 6-foot-10 Stewart had
been on the injured list since Jan. 2 with left knee inflammation.
... The Raptors set a franchise record with 11 victories in January
... Olajuwon was placed on the injured list Thursday with a right
quadriceps strain.