Carter sharp in return

Published: Monday, January 27, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 27, 2003 at 1:41 a.m.
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Toronto Raptors forward Vince Carter shoots over former teammate Keon Clark of the Sacramento Kings during first-half NBA play in Toronto on Sunday. Carter's game-high 22 points paced the Raptors to a 101-97 win over the Kings.

AP Photo/J.P. Moczulski
TORONTO - Vince Carter showed that his right knee feels fine, and the good news didn't come a minute too soon for the Toronto Raptors.
Playing in his first game since Dec. 8, Carter scored 22 points as Toronto defeated the Sacramento Kings 101-907 Sunday to snap a five-game losing streak.
Carter, who missed 23 games because of a strained knee, scored Toronto's last six points on his 26th birthday.
"It was a very nice birthday present," Carter said. "It wasn't just a present for the team, it was a present for the fans. It was an opportunity to show that we can play with one of the best teams in the league, and show that when we get the majority of our guys back, we're a pretty good team ourselves."
After a two-handed dunk in the second quarter, Carter bent down to dust off his right knee.
"I was dusting the old stuff off and letting you know that my knee's OK," Carter said. "Actually, it was to let the doctors know, so that they could breathe easy."
Not everyone cheered Carter's return.
"I don't really care about Vince. We lost today. Who cares," said the Kings' Chris Webber, who had a triple-double with 24 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists. "There's a lot of good players in the NBA. All I'm concerned about is the Kings."
Carter looked tentative in the opening minutes but scored 15 points in the second half. He finished 8-of-16 from the field in 23 minutes.
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    The Pacers won their 14th straight at home, the second longest streak at Conseco Fieldhouse. The 1999-2000 Pacers set the team record with 25 straight victories.
    Brad Miller had 13 points and 11 rebounds, Jamaal Tinsley had 15 assists and Erick Strickland added 13 points, including four 3-pointers.
    Elton Brand scored 17 points, grabbed 14 and 10 assists for the Clippers. Corey Maggette scored 25 points - on 11-for-19 shooting - and Lamar Odom had 14.
  • BULLS 100, ROCKETS 98: In Chicago, Marcus Fizer grabbed a loose ball in the lane and scored with four-tenths of a second left as Chicago beat Houston and extended the Rockets' losing streak to four games.
    Jalen Rose scored 29 points, including 11 in the final quarter, and then batted away a final Houston lob pass to secure the Bulls' victory.
    Steve Francis led the Rockets with 26 points, Cuttino Mobley had 19, and Yao Ming added 14 points and eight rebounds, two weeks before he will start for the Western Conference in the All-Star game.
  • TRAIL BLAZERS 100, MAVERICKS 93: In Dallas, Zach Randolph typified Portland's inside success in the second half by scoring all 16 of his points in the final two quarters to lead the Trail Blazers past Dallas.
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    Portland has won nine of its last 11 road games and now has 15 road wins, tying Dallas for the most in the NBA. Portland's previous two games went a total of three OT periods.
  • KNICKS 106, SUNS 98: In New York, Kurt Thomas and Latrell Sprewell scored 28 points apiece and New York built a 22-point lead before holding off Phoenix.
    Allan Houston added 16 points and Thomas grabbed 17 rebounds for the Knicks, who benefited from one of the worst games of the season by Suns rookie Amare Stoudemire. The 20-year-old phenom had just 3 points and six rebounds and missed three of four free throws.
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