Carter Returns to Help Raptors Nip Kings
TORONTO (AP) _ Vince Carter returned and the Toronto Raptors won.
Carter, playing for the first time since Dec. 10, scored 22 points to lead the Raptors to a 101-97 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, snapping their five-game losing streak.
Carter, who missed 23 games because of a strained right knee, scored Toronto’s last six points on his 26th birthday.
His fadeaway jumper gave the Raptors a 97-91 lead with 1:36 left, and his two free throws made it 99-94 with 17.7 seconds remaining.
Sacramento’s Jim Jackson followed with a 3-pointer, but Carter made two free throws with 7.9 seconds left to give Toronto a four-point lead.
Mike Bibby scored 30 points and Chris Webber had 24 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists for the Kings, who shot 39 percent from the field in losing for the second straight game.
Carter looked tentative in the opening minutes, but scored 15 points in the second half. He finished 8-for-16 from the field.
Carter’s 3-pointer, fadeaway jumper and short jumper gave Toronto a nine-point lead early in the third quarter.
The Kings followed with a 12-4 run, including 10 straight points from Bibby.
Vlade Divac’s jumper cut the lead to one, but Toronto began the fourth quarter with a 15-4 run, including Carter’s 3-pointer with 6:58 left.
After Carter made his fadeaway jumper with 1:36 left, Webber made one of two free throws.
Webber then missed two free throws with 56 seconds left, but Bibby made two with 18.2 seconds remaining to cut Toronto’s lead to three.
Carter then made his two free throws before Jackson’s 3-pointer.
After Carter made two more to give Toronto a four-point lead, Webber missed a 3-pointer with three seconds left.
Toronto’s Jerome Williams added 14 rebounds and 12 points.
Notes: Carter’s mother posted a birthday message on the videoboard. It read: `’To my awesome son Vince 26 XOXO Mom.″ ... Miss Universe, Justine Pasek, and Miss Universe Canada, Leanne Cecile, sat courtside. ... Toronto’s Morris Peterson added 17 points. ... Sacramento’s Peja Stojakovic went 2-for-10 from the field for just 10 points. Webber was 9-for-26 from the field.