Raptors fall as Carter suffers poor debut

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 24, 2000

The Associated Press

The latest player touted as the next Michael Jordan had a poor postseason debut, missing his first 12 shots and 17 of 20 overall, including a late finger roll that would have tied the score in the final minute against the New York Knicks.

Monday, April 24, 2000

Email newsletter signup

The latest player touted as the next Michael Jordan had a poor postseason debut, missing his first 12 shots and 17 of 20 overall, including a late finger roll that would have tied the score in the final minute against the New York Knicks.

Carter did go 9-for-10 from the free-throw line, but the lone miss came after he was flagrantly fouled with 40 seconds left and the Toronto Raptors trailing by three Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Toronto didn’t score again until 2.5 seconds remained, and by then it was too late as New York held on for a 92-88 victory in the first game of their best-of-five Eastern Conference series.

”I was overexcited. I wasn’t my normal self,” acknowledged Carter, who won the slam-dunk contest on All-Star weekend and was fourth in the league in scoring this season.

”My mechanics were not what they’d be in a regular-season game. That happens. I just couldn’t hit a shot.”

Carter finished the first quarter with more fouls (2) than points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks combined (1). He didn’t make a field goal until the final quarter.

Most crucial were Carter’s two misses at the end after Toronto – playing the franchise’s first postseason game – came all the way back from a 19-point deficit.

In other playoff series openers Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers rolled past Sacramento 117-107, Portland edged Minnesota 91-88 and Indiana topped Milwaukee 88-85.

Philadelphia is at Charlotte, and Seattle plays at Utah in tonight’s two games. The 76ers and Jazz hold 1-0 leads in those best-of-five series.

Carter looked little like the Knicks nemesis he had been during the regular season, when he averaged 33 points as Toronto went 3-1 against New York.

”I have a game under my belt, and we have time to settle down and get back to basics,” Carter said. ”There’s things I know now that I wish I knew before the game, but I’ll be ready for Game 2.”

Larry Johnson hit the biggest shot of Sunday’s game, a 3-pointer with 43 seconds left to break an 85-85 tie and put the Knicks ahead for good.

Latrell Sprewell played superb defense on Carter, with plenty of help, and scored 21 points for New York, as did Allan Houston. Johnson and Patrick Ewing had 15 each and Chris Childs 12.

”They came out like every possession was their last and they were playing Game 7,” Toronto coach Butch Carter said.

Tracy McGrady’s 25 points led the Raptors, who shot only 37 percent from the field.

”Vince was just overexcited. He wasn’t relaxed,” McGrady said. ”We were caught up in the hype of it being our first playoff game.”

Carter and the Raptors will try to tie the series in Wednesday’s Game 2.

Marcus Camby escalated his feud with coach Carter – who has filed a $5 million defamation suit against the Knicks forward – when he made consecutive shots midway through the second quarter. Camby glared at the Raptors coach both times and mouthed an obscenity after the second basket.

Lakers 117, Kings 107

Shaquille O’Neal equaled a career playoff high with 46 points and also had 17 rebounds and five blocked shots as Los Angeles won for the 17th time in its last 18 home games.

Kobe Bryant scored 23 points and Glen Rice 18 for the Lakers, who opened their bid for the team’s first championship since 1988.

Chris Webber, limited to 27 minutes, led Sacramento with a career playoff-high 28 points and five rebounds before fouling out with 6:53 left. Jason Williams added 20 points and Tony Delk 17.

The Kings trailed by six with 4 1/2 minutes to play before the Lakers scored six straight to put them away.

Trail Blazers 91, Timberwolves 88

Scottie Pippen scored 28 points and hit two crucial free throws after being knocked to the floor as host Portland rallied after trailing by six points heading into the fourth quarter.

Pippen drove to the basket and was hit across the right side of the face by Anthony Peeler with 1:26 left, but still made his foul shots for an 87-82 lead.

Malik Sealy scored 23 points to lead the Timberwolves. Kevin Garnett had 12 points, a career high-tying 11 assists, and 10 rebounds, but he shot just 6-of-20.

The Timberwolves, who have never won a playoff series in their 11-year history, fell to 0-4 in openers. Minnesota had been 20-0 on the road when leading after three quarters.

Pacers 88, Bucks 85

Jalen Rose scored 26 points, including three 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter and a clinching free throw with 17 seconds left, as Indiana prevailed at home.

Rose had 12 points in the first quarter, but went cold until his late run. The Bucks, meanwhile, survived their own poor shooting, coming back from a 13-point deficit and tied the game at 62 after three quarters on six straight points by Sam Cassell.

Two baskets by Tim Thomas at the start of the final period gave Milwaukee its biggest lead at 67-62. But the Bucks’ final edge was 69-68 before Rose’s first 3-pointer with 6:28 to go, and Indiana went up 79-71 after two more 3-pointers by Rose.

Milwaukee’s Ray Allen had 22 of his 26 points in the second half.