TORONTO (AP) — Vince Carter lit up Michael Jordan for 19 points in the first quarter. Jordan bared down in the second half.
The Washington Wizards rallied from a 19-point deficit, holding Carter scoreless in the second half to beat the Toronto Raptors 93-88 Sunday for their season-high sixth straight victory.
“It took me a whole quarter just to understand what his tendencies are, and how I could take his rhythm away,” Jordan said. “We wanted to shut him down as much as possible and make the other guys hurt us.”
Richard Hamilton scored 27 points and Jordan added 21 asWashington matched its longest winning streak since a six-game run from Dec. 15-26, 1997.
Chris Whitney made three big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help send Toronto to its fourth straight loss.
“Just Jordan’s presence on the floor got Chris Whitney two wide open 3-pointers for us to break that game open,” Washington coach Doug Collins said.
The Raptors, who held their big lead in the first quarter, have lost six of seven.
Carter had 23 points in the first half before Jordan denied him the ball in the third quarter. Carter took just four shots in the second half.
“Michael withstood that 19 point flourish early, and came in and locked in,” Collins said. “Michael didn’t run away from a defensive challenge, and that’s why he’s the best.”
Hamilton, who has been outscoring Jordan during Washington’s wining streak, scored 11 points in the third quarter as the Wizards outscored Toronto 27-16.
Collins asked Jordan to guard Carter because Hamilton became frustrated when he had to guard Carter in the preseason.
“In the preseason Hamilton guarded Vince, and Vince had 27 in the first half and Hamilton had nothing, and it really messed with Hamilton,” Collins said. “I asked Michael before the game ‘Will you guard Vince?’, so that will free up Hamilton to be more offensive minded. Michael said, ‘Not a problem.’ “
Whitney’s 3-pointer with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter gave Washington an eight-point lead.
Alvin Williams later narrowed Washington’s lead to three with a layup, but Whitney followed with a 3-pointer with 3:32 remaining. Toronto’s Hakeem Olajuwon fouled Brendan Haywood on the play, and Haywood made his free throw, giving Washington a 86-79 lead.
Whitney then hit another 3-pointer to make it a 10-point lead with 3:02 remaining.
Hamilton credited Jordan for the victory.
“Vince hit a lot of great shots in the first quarter, but Michael did an excellent job on him,” Hamilton said. “He’s one of the greatest defenders in the game.”
Carter scored 19 points as the Raptors took their early 19-point lead. Washington followed with a 17-1 run with Jordan on the bench, holding Toronto without a basket for more than six minutes.
“There is no reason to panic,” said Carter, whose team will hold a players only meeting Monday morning. “We did not make shots, we didn’t run, and we didn’t communicate. They did a lot of things well and we didn’t have an answer.”
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