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Teams combine for just 19 points in fourth

3/3/2004

MIAMI (AP) -- Ready or not, healthy or not, Vince Carter returned
to help the Toronto Raptors end a season-long slide.

"Early on (the ankle) was stiff, but I just kept going and
said, 'Think about it later," said Carter, who came off the
injured list and scored 27 points Tuesday night to help the Raptors
snap a nine-game losing streak with 89-86 victory over the Miami
Heat.

"My main concern was being healthy enough to go out and play."

The teams combined to score 19 points in the fourth quarter,
breaking the NBA record for fewest combined points (20) in the
final period.

The game ended with Miami coach Stan Van Gundy rushing toward
the officials and screaming after no foul was called on Chris Bosh
as he defended Eddie Jones' 3-point attempt just before the final
buzzer.

"We're 0-4 on those (late-game) calls," said Van Gundy, citing
earlier games in Portland, Detroit and Cleveland. "In this playoff
race, that's a big difference."

Donyell Marshall shot 6-of-9 from 3-point territory and scored
24 points for the Raptors, who were 11-of-20 from long range.

Lamar Odom had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Miami, which lost
its fourth in a row. The Heat shot just 2-of-19 in the fourth
quarter.

Miami's Udonis Haslem, who had made 20 consecutive free throws,
missed the second of two foul shots with 49.2 seconds left to leave
the Heat behind 87-86.

"It felt so good on the release, I thought it was going in,"
Haslem said. "It's the worst feeling. To hit 20 in a row, and then
the one I miss decides it."

The Raptors ran the shot clock down and then grabbed an
offensive rebound, leaving to a pair of free throws by Carter with
9 seconds remaining for the game's final points.

"This is a game we can't complain about the referees," said
Miami forward Brian Grant, whose team led by 15 points after the
first quarter. "This was a game where we were in control in the
first half. If we had just kept that going."

Carter played a team-high 41 minutes after missing the previous
six games with a left ankle sprain.

"I was a little iffy earlier today, and even before the game,
if I could go," Carter said. "It's not the sprain but the other
side, a bone bruise.

"I'm glad we made the decision and we won. I need to be out
there."

Toronto's reserves outscored Miami's 30-8 to help overcome the
absence of Jalen Rose (fractured hand) and Alvin Williams (knee).

"When you're playing short-handed and on a nine-game loss
streak, any win is a big win," Toronto coach Kevin O'Neill said.
"No team in this league can lose any of its top three scorers and
expect to produce offensively."

The score was tied at 78 after three quarters. Each of Miami's
five starters reached double figures before the third quarter had
ended. Toronto began the fourth quarter shooting 54.7 percent (11
of 17) from 3-point territory.

"We can't wait for them to hit a cold streak, we have to go out
and make them hit a cold streak," said Miami forward Caron Butler,
who hit just four of 16 shots.

Carter scored 15 points in the second quarter to help Toronto
rally from 15 points down and pull to 54-52 at halftime. The
Raptors sank all six 3-point attempts and scored 37 points, the
most Miami has surrendered in a quarter this season.

Jones hit five of six shots and scored 12 points to help the
Heat build a 30-15 lead after one quarter. Odom had eight rebounds
while playing the entire quarter.

Game notes
Toronto forward Morris Peterson returned after receiving
three stitches at halftime to close a cut on his right hand. ...
Marshall's six 3-pointers were the most against the Heat this
season. ... The Heat's victory total remained at 25, the same as
all of last season (25-57). ... Miami was without rookie guard
Dwyane Wade, sidelined with a right-foot bone contusion suffered in
Sunday's loss at Milwaukee. .. The Raptors snapped Miami's six-game
winning streak against them. ... Toronto forward Michael Bradley
(knee) was put on the injured list to make room for Carter. ...
Rose missed his 11th consecutive game; Williams his fifth. ...
Toronto, which visits Washington on Wednesday night, improved to
6-6 in the first game of back-to-back situations this season. ...
The previous one-quarter scoring high for a Miami opponent was 35
points by Memphis in the first quarter on Dec. 19.