Raptors 85, Jazz 81

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TORONTO (AP)—Vince Carter wasn’t about to let the Toronto Raptors fall further behind in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and he even came up with something special—a left-handed dunk.

Carter scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, and the Raptors knocked the Utah Jazz back to .500 with an 85-81 victory Wednesday night.

Jalen Rose and Donyell Marshall each added 17 points for the Raptors, who are in 10th place in the East.

“I needed to play hard and attack,” Carter said. “Philly lost, so it’s important to separate ourselves from them. We have to keep moving up. It doesn’t help that Boston won, but we just have to keep doing our job and see what happens.”

The Raptors are one game behind Boston for ninth place, and 1 1/2 games behind New York and Miami, who are tied for seventh.

Toronto is 2-0 since Rose returned to the lineup after missing a month with four broken bones in his right hand.

Andrei Kirilenko’s driving dunk gave Utah a 71-69 lead with 6:26 left, but Carter scored five straight points, including a spectacular driving dunk past Kirilenko.

“That woke me up,” Carter said. “I’ve never dunked before in my life with my left hand, so I’m excited.”

Gordan Giricek’s jumper and Kirilenko’s tip-in gave Utah a 77-76 lead with 1:35 left before Carter answered with a three-point play. Giricek made another jumper to tie it, and Marshall followed with an open 3-pointer.

Giricek made another jumper to cut Toronto’s lead to one with 32 seconds left, but Utah didn’t score again.

Toronto rookie Chris Bosh grabbed an offensive rebound after a miss by Carter, and Peterson made one of two free throws to give Toronto a 83-81 lead with 8.3 seconds remaining. After Kirilenko missed a running jumper, Toronto’s Michael Curry hit two free throws to make it 85-81 with 1.7 seconds left.

Giricek had 25 points and Kirilenko added 20 for the Jazz (34-34), who remained 1 1/2 games behind Denver in the West.

“I don’t think we did a good job on Vince,” Kirilenko said. “I didn’t atthe end of the game. He was a guy that created all the plays.”


Carter said he won’t participate in the Summer Olympics because he wants to let his injuries heal. … Antonio Davis and Jerome Williams return to Toronto on Friday for the first time since being traded to Chicago on Dec. 1. Davis wanted out. … A Raptors dancer was dismissed this week after it was found out she had a pornographic web site. … The Jazz went 23-for-23 from theline before Jarron Collins missed a free throw late in the third quarter.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
A. Kirilenko A. Kirilenko
5-11,  20 Pts
7 Rebs, 3 Assists
J. Rose J. Rose
6-12,  17 Pts
5 Rebs, 6 Assists

Team Stat Leaders