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Raptors learning to adjust with injuries

12/18/2002

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Injuries have forced Toronto to play
short-handed all season, and the Raptors might be learning how to
win despite missing their key players.

Morris Peterson made two free throws with 7 seconds left in
overtime as the Raptors snapped a four-game losing streak with a
122-117 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

The Raptors, playing without leading scorer Vince Carter and
leading rebounder Antonio Davis, outscored the Bucks 9-2 in the
final 67 seconds of overtime. Going into the game, Toronto had lost
147 games to injuries.

"We're just getting tired of the excuse that we're
undermanned," said Toronto's Lindsey Hunter, who hit a 3-pointer
with 1.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. "Other
teams don't have their main guys and they're still winning, so why
can't we? Everybody contributed tonight."

Voshon Lenard led the Raptors with 23 points, while Peterson had
21.

Ray Allen, who had 37 points, made a 3-pointer to get Milwaukee
to 118-117 with 15 seconds left. Alvin Williams was fouled and hit
both free throws to extend the Raptors' lead to 120-117 with 14
seconds left.

After a timeout, Milwaukee got the ball to Tim Thomas on the
left baseline, but Toronto's Jerome Williams knocked the ball away.

"I fouled him," Jerome Williams acknowledged after the game.
"But basically, he was in a no-win situation because I knew they
needed a 3. I was all the way up on him.

"When he pump-faked, I put my hand in and got a little of his
wrist," Jerome Williams said. "But he wasn't in his shooting
motion. He tried to pump-fake me again, and that's when I was able
to get it and tip it to Mo."

Peterson was fouled by Sam Cassell and scored the final points
to ensure the victory.

The loss left Milwaukee with a 2-6 December record, including
1-3 at home.

"This is the toughest loss for me this season," Bucks coach
George Karl said. "We had plenty of opportunities. We just refused
to play defense down the stretch. It cost us the game."

Milwaukee led 114-113 when Alvin Williams scored on a rebound to
give the Raptors the lead for good at 115-114 with 32 seconds left.
Allen drove the lane, but Lenard blocked his shot.

Toronto tried to run the fast break, but Sam Cassell was called
for a flagrant foul on Hunter, who made both free throws for a
117-114 lead with 20 seconds left. The Raptors inbounded, and
Williams was fouled and made one free throw for a 118-114 lead.

The Bucks had run off six consecutive points to take a 112-106
lead on Michael Redd's free throw with 2:22 left.

"We had this game, and we should have put it away," Redd said.
"But the Raptors stepped up and made some big shots. They got hot
on us."

Hunter hit a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left in regulation to
tie it at 104-104. Cassell's turnaround jumper at the buzzer
missed, sending the game to overtime.

Milwaukee, typically a perimeter team, scored 40 points in the
paint during the first three quarters to open an 82-78 lead. But
the Bucks scored only two more points in the paint during the
fourth quarter and overtime.

"They got a lot of layups in the first half, and we said we
can't give them as many layups because it is such a high-percentage
shot," Jerome Williams said. "We did come out and try to force
them into more jump shots."

Game notes
Thomas is the only Bucks player to have started all 24 of
his team's games. ... The Bucks' starting lineup of Cassell, Allen,
Dan Gadzuric, Anthony Mason and Tim Thomas is 7-6. The other six
starting-lineup combinations are 3-8.

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