Raptors 121, Hornets 120, OT

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NEW ORLEANS (AP)—Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors are giving the playoff race one more shot.

Just a game removed from being booed off their home court in a loss to Chicago, the Raptors fed off Carter’s 42 points and clutch shooting for a 121-120 overtime victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday night.

“This win really gives us an opportunity to make some noise and sneak up on some people—and move up maybe several spots,” Carter said.

Toronto has taken three of four from New Orleans this season and the victory pulled the Raptors within a game of Cleveland for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Cavaliers lost to Detroit.

Carter, who also had 12 rebounds, drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer with 18 seconds left in overtime, then hit a pair of game-sealing free throws.

Carter also hit one of two 3s that Toronto needed as it erased a 107-99 deficit over the final 2:36 of regulation to force overtime. Other than a pair of flamboyant dunks in the first half, Carter scored most of his points from outside or on 12 free throws. He shot 4-of-5 from 3-point range.

Jamaal Magloire had 23 points—15 on free throws—and 18 rebounds for New Orleans, which set an NBA season high for free throws attempted with 60. But New Orleans missed 14, including one by Magloire with 34 seconds left in overtime, leaving New Orleans up 117-116.

That’s when Carter, denied room to drive by Stacy Augmon, pulled up for 3 with 18 seconds left.

On his attempt to tie it, Magloire was stripped of the ball as he drove into a triple team and Chris Bosh tied him up for a jump ball. Bosh won the jump ball to Carter, who was fouled and hit two free throws. Steve Smith hit a last second 3-pointer on the other end.

Getting the ball to Magloire “gave us our best chance,” Hornets coach Tim Floyd said. “It was going to be a high percentage shot or free throws. It didn’t work out.”

Toronto coach Kevin O’Neill expected New Orleans’ bigger front court to give the Hornets and inside edge and draw more fouls. New Orleans outscored Toronto inside 40-30 and outrebounded the Raptors 48-32.

“When you’re going down here having to shoot jump shots and can’t score inside, and they’re coming down and pounding that thing on the board it is a little bit discouraging,” O’Neill said. “But I thought our team as a whole … did a good job of staying in the game and pushing ahead and making the right things happen. We gave ourselves a chance to win by making some big plays down the stretch.”

Jalen Rose scored 26 for Toronto, including a tying shot at the end of regulation.

“If you looked out on the floor, guys played with a passion,” Rose said. “Obviously, you don’t want to send a team to the line 60 times, but that’s the opposite of allowing guys to waltz to the basket and get easy baskets.”

Baron Davis had 29 points for New Orleans, which has lost two straight. His third 3-pointer gave New Orleans a 112-109 lead early in overtime. Reserve Robert Traylor had 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Augmon and P.J. Brown each added 12 points.

“This just doesn’t make any sense. We outplayed them in every category and the game should have been over in regulation,” Davis said.

Bosh had 14 for Toronto. Donyell Marshall had 10, hitting a 3-pointer with 47 seconds left in regulation that had Toronto as close as 109-107.

The Hornets helped Toronto when Davis, who had six turnovers, fell down as Lynch attempted to pass him the ball, giving the Raptors the ball back with 34 seconds to go.

Rose tied it with 22 seconds left, stopping his drive a couple feet short of the basket and pump faking several times before getting off a clean shot.

Both teams then missed chances for the win, with Davis losing the ball on a drive and Marshall missing from long range at the buzzer.

After leading 57-53 at halftime, New Orleans shot only 4-of-13 in the third quarter but scored 20 on free throws in the period to take an 86-80 lead into the fourth.

Carter kept Toronto in the game, mostly by hitting from outside. He had 13points in the quarter.

Notes

Toronto, which ranks last in the league in free throw attempts, got to the line once in the first quarter—and that was on Davis’ technical—but four 3-pointers and 55 percent shooting helped the Raptors build a 27-20 lead heading into the second period. … The Hornets’ bench outscored the starters 30-27 in the first half … Carter is averaging 27.6 points in 10 games sincereturning from a sprained left ankle March 2.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Toronto
V. Carter V. Carter
13-20,  42 Pts
6 Rebs, 12 Assists
 New Orleans
J. Magloire J. Magloire
4-11,  23 Pts
18 Rebs, 0 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists