Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/27

Game 1: Wednesday, November 27th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 1st
Game 3: Monday, March 24th
Game 4: Sunday, March 30th

Knicks 87

(3-10, 1-4 away)

Raptors 81

(4-10, 3-5 home)

    Coverage: MSG

    7:00 PM ET, November 27, 2002

    Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON

    1 2 3 4 T
    NY 18 21 19 2987
    TOR 17 15 28 2181

    Top Performers

    New York: A. Houston 30 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl

    Toronto: A. Williams 14 Pts, 6 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl

    Knicks win first road game of season

    TORONTO (AP) -- Allan Houston's scoring abilities paid off for the New York Knicks.

    Allan Houston

    Houston scored 30 points and Lee Nailon had 10 of his 15 in the fourth quarter as the Knicks won their first road game of the season and spoiled Vince Carter's return to the Toronto Raptors with an 87-81 victory Wednesday night.

    "All I was thinking about was winning the game,'' said Houston, who has four 30-plus scoring games, just three fewer than all of last season.

    "I wanted to go to with what my strength is, and that's getting to a point and pulling up,'' he said.

    Kurt Thomas added 18 points for the Knicks, who improved to 1-4 on the road and 3-10 overall. The Knicks, who have won just two of their last eight, made 11 of their 12 free throws down the stretch.

    They won despite blowing a 14-point third quarter lead.

    "The games that we've lost already were crushing,'' Houston said. "Had we lost tonight, which I don't want to even think about, it couldn't be any worse than what we already have faced.''

    Carter scored 16 points in his first game after missing 10 with a strained quadriceps tendon in his left knee. Carter went 7-for-14 from the field in 24 minutes for the Raptors, who have lost six straight.

    "It's hard for me to get a rhythm, I admit that,'' Carter said. "I'm ready to play. They just felt they should watch my minutes tonight.''

    After Houston's jumper tied it at 74 with 2:29 left, Carter made a hook shot.

    Thomas followed with a short jumper, and Houston made an 18-foot jumper over Voshon Lenard, giving New York a 78-76 lead.

    After Thomas blocked Antonio Davis' shot, Houston made another jumper with 30 seconds left.

    Houston then made one of two free throws, cutting it to 81-78 with 25 seconds remaining.

    Howard Eisley grabbed a rebound after Carter missed his second free throw. Eisley then made two free throws with 18.5 seconds left to give New York a four-point lead.

    After Carter missed a running jumper, New York's Shandon Anderson made two more free throws, and Houston made two more with less than 10 seconds left to seal the victory.

    "We definitely needed a victory, especially after we lost the lead,'' Thomas said.

    Othella Harrington converted a 3-point play, Houston made a 3-pointer and Eisley capped a 13-6 run for the Knicks with a 3-pointer, giving New York a 14-point lead -- their biggest lead of the game -- with 7:49 left in the third.

    After a timeout, Carter made a reverse dunk and the Raptors responded by outscoring New York 22-6 the rest of the quarter as Davis had 11 points.

    Davis' 18-foot jumper gave Toronto a 60-58 lead with 26 seconds left in the period.

    Houston had 13 points and Thomas 10 as the Knicks led 39-32 at halftime.

    Alvin Williams threw up an alley-oop pass for Carter in the first quarter, but Carter didn't attempt to dunk it, opting for a short jumper instead.

    Game notes

    Toronto's Jerome Williams missed the game with a sore elbow. ... New York coach Don Chaney complained before the game that half of the locker room chalkboard is taken up by the outline of a hockey rink. The arena is shared by the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs. ... The Raptors went 3-7 without Carter. ... Carter came off the bench for just the second time in his career.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press