Raps throw up lame dunk

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

Vince Carter dunked, the Raptors got dunked.

Truth was, Carter didn't know if he wanted to dunk or be dunked after accidentally getting elbowed hard in the mouth by Larry Hughes in the second quarter last night. But while a dizzy Carter had to leave the game for a spell, it was the Raptors who were in a daze after falling 102-86 to the Washington Wizards at the MCI Center.

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell was furious with his team's overall effort. The Raptors were out-rebounded 64-47 -- that's a new record for a Raptors opponent in a non-overtime game -- and missed 14 free throws.

"We're looking like the Washington Generals, and I'm not saying that to be funny," said Mitchell, evoking the name of the Harlem Globetrotters' regular foes. "Somewhere we have to find some men who want to play basketball. For those who don't, do everyone a favour and quit, because it's embarrassing.

"I can't explain (the rebounding difference). We didn't move, we didn't box out, we didn't even jump, and we have athletes. We had guys with stats lines that read zero, zero, zero, zero. And I don't have to tell you who they were, you can read it for yourself."

Mitchell didn't name names, but the most obvious targets were Lamond Murray and Jerome Moiso. But there were other candidates, too.

Mitchell also blasted his club's lack of visible fierceness, calling the Raptors' games "too much of a love-fest."

"When guys knock us down, they step over us, but when we knock guys down, we run over like they're teammates," Mitchell said. "We've lost seven games and in the five games we won, I didn't see one smile on the other team's face."

There weren't many smiles in the Raptors' locker room.

"All (Mitchell) asks of us is effort, and he has every right to be mad," Carter said.

Carter created a stir in Toronto on Monday when he said, "I don't want to dunk anymore." Yesterday he said he was kidding, and he proved it with two big dunks in the third quarter, one off an alley-oop feed, the other a soaring tomahawk.

The Raptors trailed by 19 points heading into the fourth quarter and cut the deficit to six, but got no closer. Their third-quarter swoons really are getting ridiculous, and they were outscored 34-18 in that period last night.

Carter got dinged in the mouth with two and a half minutes to play in the first half, as he was guarding Hughes. As Hughes tried to drive around Carter, a flying elbow from the former connected dead-on with the latter.

Carter's head didn't pop off its spring like in that old Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots game, but he looked pretty groggy as he he walked gingerly back to the locker room. Nonetheless, he was back in the game at the beginning of the third quarter.

Carter led the Raptors (5-7) with 25 points -- a season-high for him -- while Rafer Alston (20 points, a career-high 13 assists) and Chris Bosh (15 points, 10 rebounds) had double-doubles. Antawn Jamison led the Wizards (6-4) with 28 points and 13 rebounds.

Jalen Rose did not dress because of a left quadriceps contusion. Murray, who started in Rose's place, scored only two points on 1-for-9 shooting.

Rafael Araujo also was not with the Raptors last night because of lower back spasms.


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