Raptors 82, Wizards 79

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TORONTO (AP)—The Toronto Raptors played enough defense in the first half to make Vince Carter’s second-half scoring spurt important.

Carter scored 18 of his 26 points after halftime and the Raptors recovered from their lowest scoring first half ever to beat the Washington Wizards 82-79 Friday night.

Jerome Williams added 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Antonio Davis had 15 rebounds as the Raptors improved to 2-0 under new coach Kevin O’Neill.

The Raptors scored a record-low 27 points in the first half, but Carter had 12 points in the third quarter and made all six of his free throw attempts in the final five minutes.

“We didn’t score a lot, but they didn’t either,” said Carter, whose team trailed by 10 at halftime. “Regardless of the fact that we were not scoring, we were still defending and we kept the score low.”

Toronto’s previous low for first-half points was 28 against Utah on Nov. 17, 2002.

The Raptors rallied from a 13-point deficit in the season opener against New Jersey on Wednesday night, and from a 12-point deficit against Washington.

Carter had 25 of his 39 points in the second half on Wednesday.

“It’s my time,” Carter said. “Kevin is putting the ball in my hands and letting me make decisions, which I’m comfortable with. There’s something about the second half that I enjoy.”

The Raptors won their first two games of the season for the first time ever.

Kwame Brown had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Wizards, who were outrebounded 49-37 overall and 18-7 on the offensive glass.

“We got outrebounded, that was a key to the game,” Washington’s Gilbert Arenas said. “We shot a better percentage, but they just got the offensive rebounds.”

The Raptors shot 27 percent in the first half, but they grabbed 12 offensive rebounds.

The Wizards shot 44 percent overall, compared to 39 percent for Toronto.

Williams had six points, and Carter made two 3-pointers as the Raptors began the second half on a 12-2 run, tying the game at 39.

With Carter on the bench, the Raptors turned a seven-point deficit into a three-point lead with a 14-4 run to start the fourth. Morris Peterson had five points during the run.

Carter returned with 4:29 left and scored four of Toronto’s next six points, but Brown made a layup to cut the lead to one with 1:20 left.

After Arenas missed an off-balance jumper, Etan Thomas grabbed the rebound and scored to give the Wizards a 79-78 lead with 50 seconds remaining.

With four Wizards collapsing on Carter, he passed to rookie Chris Bosh, whose layup gave Toronto the lead for good with 34 seconds left.

“He’s not the fourth pick in the draft for no reason,” Carter said. “He’s capable. He knows how to put it in the basket. Kevin gives him confidence by putting him in that type of situation.”

After Arenas missed a running jumper, Davis grabbed the rebound. Carter made two free throws to give Toronto an 82-79 lead with 18.5 seconds remaining.

Washington’s Jarvis Hayes missed a jumper with 12 seconds left, and theWizards couldn’t foul anybody in the final seconds.

Notes

Kansas City Chiefs kick returner Dante Hall sat courtside. Hall, who has returned four kicks for touchdowns, blew past the Raptors mascot during a timeout. … Attendance was just 14,183. … O’Neill said Bosh is more suited right now to make jump shots than work inside. Bosh, the No. 4 pick in this year’s draft, was pushed around by New Jersey’s big men on Wednesday, but he made a clutch jumper. O’Neill said he’ll eventually be an excellent post player. … Arenas had 16 points and seven assists. … Davis turned 35Friday.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Washington
G. Arenas G. Arenas
5-9,  16 Pts
4 Rebs, 7 Assists
 Toronto
V. Carter V. Carter
9-22,  26 Pts
7 Rebs, 5 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists