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Carter makes key block in Toronto's win

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Vince Carter played like an All-Star Tuesday
night.

Carter, chastised by many for accepting a starting spot in next
Sunday's All-Star Game, scored 25 points -- two less than his season
high -- and blocked the potential tying shot by Ray Allen just ahead
of the final buzzer as the Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks
98-95.

Carter enjoyed the defensive play at game's end against a
three-time All-Star, who had expressed his dismay about Carter's
selection.

"Definitely, that's probably the most satisfying," Carter said
of his block on Allen's shot from the left corner. "I timed it
perfect.

"It's a big win for us. We had to fight for everything and
we're on a roll right now. It feels good."

Carter, who played in only 10 games before the ballots were
counted because of knee problems, was third in balloting for the
All-Star game in Atlanta, trailing just Kobe Bryant and Tracy
McGrady. Carter has played in 14 games this season, averaging 18.4
points and 3.4 rebounds.

Toronto coach Lenny Wilkens didn't hesitate when asked about the
importance of having his star on the court.

"What can I say? Take Shaq out, they lose," Wilkens said in
comparing Carter's importance to that of Shaquille O'Neal of the
Lakers. "You put him back in the lineup and he's our Shaq, you
know what I'm saying. He's our best player and when he's on the
floor he makes other people better."

Carter had plenty of help as five teammates, including all five
starters, reached double figures. Antonio Davis scored 16 points,
Morris Peterson added 14, reserve Voshon Lenard and Jerome Williams
13 each and Alvin Williams 11 for Toronto, which has won four of
five since Carter's return from a knee injury.

Michael Redd scored 24 points, Allen had 21, Sam Cassell 20 and
Anthony Mason 13 for the Bucks, who lost for the third time in 13
games.

"When you let a team get confidence, it can be a long night,"
Redd said.

It was 88-82 following Toni Kukoc's 3-pointer before Toronto
regained the lead with a 13-2 run, featuring six points by Lenard
and a 3-pointer by Alvin Williams for a 95-90 lead.

Mason cut the deficit to three before a tip-in by Jerome
Williams made it 97-92 with 1:22 left. A 3-point play by Redd made
it 97-95 with 28 seconds left and Jerome Williams made one of two
free throws after grabbing an offensive rebound with 2.3 seconds
left for the final point.

Allen attempted a game-tying 3-pointer but it was blocked by
Carter.

Allen took charge in the third quarter, scoring 12 points in a
span of 4:07 before injuring his left ankle when he tripped on a
fast break with 2:47 left in the quarter.

His dunk with 5:57 left gave Milwaukee its first lead and his
3-pointer capped a 16-2 run, making it 66-62. The Bucks led 76-74
after three quarters.

The Raptors scored the game's first six points and led 11-2.
They never trailed in the first half, which ended 56-46.

Milwaukee is 2-2 halfway through its eight-game homestand after
extending its winning streak on the road to six games.

"I don't understand our lack of focus at home," Redd said.
"At home it doesn't feel like we have that same intensity level to
start games, and it's costing us wins."

Milwaukee coach George Karl agreed.

"It's very disheartening when you have an opportunity to do
good stuff and we don't put our effort and energy into it to win
the game," Karl said. "We didn't handle prosperity as well as we
should have."

Game notes
The visiting team has won all three meetings between the
teams this season. ... Carter was averaging 16 points in the last
four games but had 15 in the first half against the Bucks. ...
Milwaukee, which had only six turnovers in Saturday's 107-100
victory over the Knicks, committed eight in the first half and
finished with 15 against Toronto. ... The Raptors have hit at least
one 3-pointer in 334 straight games.

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