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© St. Petersburg Times, published April 27, 2001


Carter finally dominates as Raptors blast Knicks

NEW YORK -- Vince Carter finally became a playoff performer Thursday night, turning from a timid player into a tough one as the Toronto Raptors beat the Knicks 94-74.

Carter, coming off a poor performance in Game 1 that dropped his career post-season record to 0-4, went on an offensive tear in the second half to help turn it into a rout.

Carter scored 22 and got the better of Latrell Sprewell several times when they were matched one-on-one to lead the Raptors to the first playoff victory in franchise history.

The series, tied at 1, resumes Sunday at Toronto.

The Raptors threw a different look at the Knicks, making Chris Childs a starter, sliding Alvin Williams to shooting guard and sending rookie Morris Peterson to the bench. Williams tied his career high with 23 points and Childs had seven assists before leaving with a pulled hamstring late in the third quarter as the Raptors were in the midst of a 31-15 run.

Coach Lenny Wilkens also used power forward Jerome Williams at times to defend Sprewell and Houston. Sprewell shot 3-of-12 and Houston 5-of-11.

Carter was at his best during the second-half run. On one drive into the lane, he looked as if he were about to pass after leaving his feet looking at Alvin Williams, but instead he turned and hit a running 14-footer for a 65-52 lead.

Carter blocked a shot by Othella Harrington on New York's next possession, then stepped back and made a 23-foot jumper early in the fourth to make it 68-52.

Carter followed by blowing past Sprewell on consecutive drives. With Toronto ahead 75-54, he crept up next to Mark Jackson of the Knicks and whispered in his ear for several seconds, grinning the whole time.

Around the league

MAGIC GRIPES: Nice guys such as Orlando's Tracy McGrady don't get to the free-throw line much, according to coach Doc Rivers.

In two first-round losses to Milwaukee, Rivers has watched his small forward get hacked, hit, pounded and pummeled on drives. Rivers believes it's time for McGrady, who's averaging 34 points but has shot only 12 free throws, to complain to the referees.

In other words, act like the Bucks, who have gone to the free-throw line 22 more times than the Magic.

"Ray Allen, Sam Cassell, they cry on every single call, and it seems like it works," Rivers said. "Tracy will look at the (referee), just smile and walk down the court. His good manners are possibly hurting him."

STARKS SURGERY: Jazz guard John Starks had surgery this week to remove a testicle and was resting at home, the Associated Press reported.

Starks, 35, reportedly had surgery Tuesday and was hospitalized overnight for a condition called testicular torsion.

Jazz spokesman David Allred refused to confirm the report, saying only that Starks' ailment wasn't basketball-related.

Dr. Tony Middleton Jr., chief of urology at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, said torsion occurs when a testicle becomes twisted 360 degrees, cutting off its blood supply.

EWING TO KNICKS?: Patrick Ewing, traded by New York to Seattle before the season, said he'd consider returning to the Knicks next season.

Speaking at halftime of the Knicks-Raptors game, Ewing said he wouldn't rule out playing for the team that drafted him first overall in 1985.

"I'll keep all my options open," the 38-year-old Ewing said when asked if he'd consider playing for New York. "I don't know what the future will be, where I will be playing. But I will be playing."

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