Carter scored 11 of his 14 points in the final eight minutes, including a clinching windmill dunk with 21 seconds left in the Toronto Raptors’ 75-69 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
James had 21 points and five assists but shot 2-for-8 with no assists in the fourth quarter.
“When it mattered I was able to step in and give us some big baskets,” Carter said. “It seemed a little gloomy going into the fourth quarter, but I kept attacking.”
Carter was 1-for-12 from the field and hadn’t scored since the first quarter before putting Toronto ahead on a 3-pointer with 7:34 left.
After James missed a 3-pointer with less than a minute left, Alvin Williams grabbed the rebound and found Carter downcourt for a dunk that gave Toronto a 73-67 lead.
“Vince heated up in the fourth, and that is when the best players heat up,” James said.
Cleveland coach Paul Silas wasn’t happy with James’ play in the fourth.
“I didn’t think all his shots down the stretch were good shots. That’s when you have teammates out there that you have to have confidence in,” Silas said.
Toronto rookie center Chris Bosh didn’t return after straining his right knee midway through the third quarter. Bosh landed awkwardly while going for a rebound, clutching his knee before asking to come out. He underwent an MRI, but results weren’t immediately known.
“If someone asked me how big a hole it would be if Chris was hurt, we’ll find out, we’ll find out what our team does,” Toronto coach Kevin O’Neill said. “I would expect our team, if he is hurt and can’t play, to play good basketball.”
The Raptors went 0-for-11 from the field to start the second half, and Carter had just three points before making a 3-pointer for a 63-60 lead with 7:34 left. Morris Peterson followed with a layup and Carter made a fadeaway jumper over Darius Miles, giving Toronto a 67-60 lead with 5:06 remaining.
James capped a 7-0 run with a short jumper, tying it at 67 with 2:07 left.
Carter ignored O’Neill’s call to drive the ball and made a jumper with 1:45 remaining.
Michael Curry then blocked James’ shot, and Carter made another fadeaway jumper over Miles, giving Toronto a 71-67 lead with 1:11 remaining.
“Our big gun came up with an offensive spurt and that was the game,” Currysaid.
The Raptors sold out the Air Canada Centre for just the fourth time this season. … Former Raptors coach Butch Carter sat next to 1996 Olympic 100-meter champion Donovan Bailey. … Cleveland coach Paul Silas said he’ll continue to limit DaJuan Wagner’s and DeSagana Diop’s minutes. Wagner played eight minutes and Diop played 14. Both were activated from the injured list before Tuesday’s game against New York. … Robert Archibald, acquired from Orlando this week, played 16 seconds in his Raptors debut. O’Neill sent him into foul James, and then pulled him. The crowd cheered his exit, and Archibaldand O’Neill laughed.