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Raptors win franchise-record ninth straight

4/10/2002

TORONTO (AP) -- Vince Carter might be done for the season. The
Toronto Raptors proved they are not.

On the same day Carter expressed doubt about returning from knee surgery for any round of the playoffs, Antonio Davis scored 24
points and the Raptors extended their franchise-record winning
streak to nine with an 84-80 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

The Raptors, whose winning streak has come after losing 17 of 18 games, have won all of their games since Carter had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on March 26.

Toronto has shown tremendous resilience without Carter, opening
a two-game lead over the Indiana Pacers in the race for the final
playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors travel to
Indiana on Wednesday.

"That was a lot of fun," said Davis, who also had seven rebounds and a career-high seven assists. "That's a very good team and a very good test for us."

With the score tied at 80 and less than a minute remaining, P.J. Brown tipped a rebound for a basket, but was called for a loose ball foul, sending Davis to the free throw line at the other end.

After Davis made both free throws, Jamal Mashburn missed a
jumper, but grabbed the rebound. His second attempt also missed,
and Keon Clark grabbed the loose ball.

"Antonio was awesome out there," Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens said. "He's playing terrific. The guys are playing hard and teams want to come in and knock us off. We didn't quit or give up out there."

Morris Peterson clinched the victory when he made two free
throws with 7.1 seconds left.

"They made plays down the stretch that were crucial," Brown said. "The foul on Davis and him knocking down his free throws was the biggest play in the last minute. Their role players are picking it up."

Carter said before the game it's highly doubtful he'll return for any of the playoffs.

"I've accepted the fact I can't play," said Carter, who is on crutches. "I'm not worried about coming back, I'm worried about walking."

The Hornets, who have won 14 of 19 games against Toronto, split
the season series 2-2.

Both Charlotte and Toronto have five games remaining in the
tight East race.

Peterson scored 15 points on just 5-for-18 shooting and added
seven assists. Jerome Williams had 12 points, while Alvin Williams s cored 10.

"We're playing well together as a team," Peterson said. "If
one guy is having trouble, there's always somebody else there to
help out. That's the big difference from earlier on in the
season."

Mashburn scored 21 points, but was only 8-for-28, and had nine rebounds for the Hornets, who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Brown had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

"We just missed shots, that is pretty much it," said Mashburn, who missed his last 10 shots from the field. "Offensively, we got the ball to the guys who usually make them, but give them credit, they played well."

The Raptors, who trailed for most of the game, made their move
with just a few minutes remaining. Davis cut Charlotte's lead to
80-78 on a tough drive to the basket with 3:40 to go. Alvin
Williams then grabbed the rebound of Mashburn's miss and hit a long
jumper to tie it with 2:02 left.

"You can't panic and you can't worry," Davis said. "When the
team was down you could still see everybody's head up, talking
about rotations, executing on offense. That's a sign of
confidence."

The Raptors did get one injured player back Tuesday night when
Dell Curry, who missed six games with a bulging disc in his lower
back, returned and had three points in limited action.

Toronto lost Chris Childs late in the game when he strained his
right heel.

Game notes
The game was held up twice in the fourth quarter when one
of the shot clocks broke. ... NBA commissioner David Stern
announced the Hornets have not yet met all the benchmarks set by
the league to move to New Orleans, but team owners George Shinn and
Ray Wooldridge have been given more time to complete the process.
... Although the game had playoff implications for the Raptors, it
surprisingly was not shown on local television except on the
team-owned Raptors TV. ... Hornets backup center Jamaal Magloire is
the only Toronto product in the NBA.