Balanced Raptors too much for Cavs

Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2003

CLEVELAND - Vince Carter is still the main attraction, but the revamped Toronto Raptors are anything but a one-man show.

Carter scored 22 points, Donyell Marshall and Jalen Rose scored 20 apiece and the new-look Raptors won their fifth straight game, 100-93 over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

Rose scored 16 points in the second half - 12 in the third quarter - as the Raptors improved to 5-0 since acquiring Rose, Marshall and Lonny Baxter in a trade with Chicago.

Toronto's winning streak is its longest since winning nine in a row from March 22-April 9, 2002.

"It feels great to be here," Rose said. "The mark of a good team is winning in different ways. We've won on the road, we've come from behind, we've won with defense and we can go out and score. I'm looking forward to having a lot of fun here."

Carter, who begged his teammates for the ball early in the fourth quarter, added eight rebounds and seven assists. Rookie Chris Bosh chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds.

Once Toronto took the lead midway through the third quarter, the Raptors never gave it back and committed just one turnover in the final 15:18.

Raptors coach Kevin O'Neill has been impressed with the chemistry his team has established in a short time since the Dec. 1 trade.

"From the day it happened, I felt all three of them would be solid contributors," O'Neill said. "It's great to have Jalen Rose, though. He really took over the game and Vince took over at the end. We're really not running plays yet. These guys are just going out and winning."

Rookie LeBron James led the Cavs with 18 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 17. Ira Newble had a season-high 16 points and 10 rebounds for Cleveland, which has dropped nine of 10.

Juneau-Douglas High School graduate Carlos Boozer scored 12 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists,. But Boozer had a poor shooting night as he went 5-for-16 from the field.

Rose didn't have a field goal in the first half but carried Toronto's offense in the third quarter, scoring 10 points in the final 3:09 as the Raptors built a 79-73 lead entering the fourth.

"He's a key player for them," James said. "Jalen can get off shots when he wants. He did a lot for the Bulls, he did it with Michigan and he's doing it for Toronto."

The Cavaliers sliced Toronto's lead to four early on rookie Jason Kapono's drive before Carter decided to take things into his own hands.

James, who has led the Cavs in scoring seven times this season, was impressed with Toronto's balance. Maybe even a little jealous.

"They have a lot," he said. "They had 20, 20 and 20 from their big three, and that's a key for them."

Pacers 93, Wizards 79

INDIANAPOLIS - Ron Artest bounced back from his first ejection of the season with 16 points, nine assists and seven rebounds to lead the Indiana Pacers to a win over the Washington Wizards.

The Pacers, coming off a rugged five-game West Coast road trip, held a 22-point lead early in the fourth quarter before the Wizards used a 14-2 run to pull to 83-73. That prompted Indiana coach Rick Carlisle to bring back four of his five starters, and the Wizards never got any closer.

Nets 101, SuperSonics 88

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Richard Jefferson scored a season-high 31 points, Kenyon Martin had 25 and the reawakened New Jersey Nets shot a season-best 55.1 percent.

Jason Kidd added 14 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in just three quarters to help the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions post a season-high three-game winning streak.

Ronald Murray had 27 points for Seattle, which has lost three in a row and seven of 10. The only thing that prevented a season-worst loss was an 18-0 run to end the game.

Heat 92, Suns 72

MIAMI - Lamar Odom scored 16 points with a career-high 17 rebounds, and the Miami Heat got Caron Butler back in the starting lineup.

Dwyane Wade and Brian Grant each scored 18 points as Miami snapped a three-game losing streak. Butler, who sat out the previous seven games with a quadricep injury, scored seven points in 37 minutes.

Hawks 112, Nuggets 98

ATLANTA - Jacque Vaughn scored a career-high 23 points and the Atlanta Hawks took command after halftime to snap a four-game losing streak and set a season high for points.

Atlanta won despite the absence of third-leading scorer Stephen Jackson, who served a one-game suspension for a heated exchange with the coaching staff after a weekend loss in Cleveland.

76ers 78, Pistons 76

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Aaron McKie did a great job filling in for Allen Iverson, scoring a season-high 21 points and blocking Mehmet Okur's shot as time expired.

Eric Snow, his backcourt mate, had 17 points and seven assists.

Warriors 98, Timberwolves 95

MINNEAPOLIS - Jason Richardson made a wide-open 3-pointer with two-tenths of a second left.

Richardson had 30 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Golden State (10-9), which moved above .500 this late in the season for the first time since 1993-94.

Rockets 93, Trail Blazers 91

HOUSTON - Cuttino Mobley had 24 points and Steve Francis hit a 16-footer with 20 seconds left, keeping the Trail Blazers winless on the road.

Yao Ming missed two free throws with nine seconds to play, giving the Blazers a last chance. But Damon Stoudamire missed a 3-pointer just before the final buzzer.

Kings 105, Clippers 95

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Peja Stojakovic scored 26 points, and Mike Bibby had 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Anthony Peeler had 14 points in a reserve role as Sacramento blew a big early lead before rallying in the fourth for its 11th straight home victory over the Clippers. The Kings wrapped up the longest homestand in franchise history with seven wins in eight games.

Lakers 98, Knicks 90

LOS ANGELES - Kobe Bryant had 21 points, nine assists and six rebounds, and Karl Malone added 20 points in the Lakers' 10th straight win.

It was the 27th consecutive regular-season home victory for the Lakers - three shy of the franchise record set in 1951 when they played in Minneapolis.

The Lakers, whose 18-3 record is the best in the NBA, are 12-0 at home this season.

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