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  Wednesday, Jan. 19 7:00pm ET
Pierce takes a bite out of Raptors

BOSTON (AP) -- Paul Pierce doesn't need to work up any animosity for Vince Carter based on last year's rookie of the year voting.

It's enough that Pierce's Boston Celtics could be fighting Carter's Toronto Raptors for a spot in the playoffs.

"I'm not really into the 1-on-1 mentality with him," Pierce said Wednesday night after scoring 30 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left to lead Boston to a 94-90 victory over Toronto.

"I don't really look at it like that," said Pierce, who finished third in Carter's runaway rookie of the year victory last season, though both were unanimous selections to the all-rookie team. "It's my team against his team. Two competitors going out there to win."

The Celtics mounted a 14-0 run in the final five minutes, capped by Pierce's right-side swish as the 24-second clock expired that made it 92-89. It was Boston's first lead since midway through the second quarter.

Toronto called timeout, and fans showered the court with debris, prompting Celtics coach Rick Pitino to take the public address microphone and beg them to stop lest his team be charged with a technical foul.

When play resumed, Carter made just one of two free throws and Pierce sank two to clinch the game. The Celtics' third consecutive victory pulled them within one game of Toronto for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot.

"It was a huge win for us," Pitino said. "They outplayed us. They took everything we had. But we kept running it out and we never stopped."

Carter scored 20 points, including a highlight-reel dunk and a half-courter, but he was just 8-for-28 overall. Charles Oakley had 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who have lost five consecutive road games.

"We need to learn how to do a lot of things," Oakley said. "Lately, we haven't played well on the road and we've been up and down at home. We have a lot of work to do."

Antoine Walker had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Vitaly Potapenko also had 12 boards -- two in the crucial final minute.

The Celtics trailed 75-62 at the start of the fourth before mounting a 16-8 run that included two 3-pointers and four free throws by Pierce. After Toronto expanded the lead to 89-78, the Celtics ran off the next 14 points.

"We got outplayed for about 43 minutes," Cheaney said.

Toronto led 89-86 when Potapenko missed an eight-footer that could have cut the lead to one. At the other end, Doug Christie missed a 3-point attempt at 24-second buzzer, and Potapenko got the rebound.

He grabbed another board off a Celtics miss and dished it to Cheaney in the left corner, who hit the 3 to tie it with 52 seconds to play. After Carter's miss and Kenny Anderson's rebound, Pierce nailed the 3 to win it.

Toronto led by one when Carter hit a half-court shot to beat the first-half buzzer, giving the Raptors a 53-49 lead.

Toronto scored 10 of the first 11 points in the second half to take a 63-50 lead, opening a 16-point advantage midway through the quarter.

Game notes
Oakley returned after serving a one-game suspension for failing to leave the court in a timely manner following his ejection Saturday for a flagrant foul and for "extreme unsportsmanlike conduct." ... Carter has scored at least 10 points in all 39 games, breaking double digits Wednesday when his half-court buzzer-beater gave him 11 at the half. He also had a highlight reel dunk on a breakaway. ... Potapenko and Antonio Davis picked up double technicals after they went chest-to-chest in the middle of the third quarter. ... Before the game, Walter McCarty led a remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr.

NBA Scoreboard

Toronto Clubhouse

Boston Clubhouse

Boston 94
Toronto 90

Indiana 106
Milwaukee 84

Philadelphia 107
Atlanta 89

Dallas 104
Washington 86

New York 90
New Jersey 89

Charlotte 96
Chicago 86

Portland 105
San Antonio 95

Minnesota 91
Utah 88

LA Lakers 95
Cleveland 86