Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/27

Game 1: Wednesday, November 27th
Knicks87Final
Raptors81
Game 2: Wednesday, January 1st
Raptors75Final
Knicks95
Game 3: Monday, March 24th
Raptors90Final
Knicks100
Game 4: Sunday, March 30th
Knicks86Final
Raptors95

Raptors 75

(8-24, 4-14 away)

Knicks 95

(11-17, 8-9 home)

    Coverage: MSG

    7:00 PM ET, January 1, 2003

    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

    1 2 3 4 T
    TOR 23 14 25 1375
    NY 22 28 22 2395

    Top Performers

    Toronto: J. McCoy 13 Pts, 15 Reb, 1 Ast

    New York: K. Thomas 26 Pts, 14 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Thomas' 26 points help Knicks win second straight

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Even the New York Knicks' reserves are roughing up the Toronto Raptors these days.

    Kurt Thomas
    Thomas

    Kurt Thomas had 26 points and 14 rebounds and Allan Houston scored 15 as the Knicks beat Toronto 95-75 Wednesday night, handing the Raptors their eighth straight loss.

    Michael Doleac and Charlie Ward added 11 points each for the Knicks, who dominated the final three quarters and led by at least 10 points the entire second half.

    "We wanted to put them away as quickly as possible,'' Thomas said. "That's what we did in the second half.''

    New York's bench helped in that effort, outscoring Toronto's reserves 40-19, and helping the Knicks to their second straight win and third in four games.

    "They're starting to feed off of each other,'' New York coach Don Chaney said. "That's the making of a good solid unit.''

    Alvin Williams had 15 points and five assists, and Jelani McCoy had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the short-handed Raptors, who were without starters Vince Carter and Antonio Davis as well as forward Mamadou N'Diaye.

    Toronto completed a winless five-game road trip by scoring only 13 points in the fourth quarter, and has lost 15 of its last 17 games.

    "When you're on a losing streak, you can't give a team opportunities like that -- you have to almost play flawlessly to win,'' McCoy said. "When you're on a streak like this, everybody is going to smell blood and think they can get away with murder, but we've got to change people's minds about that.''

    The Raptors cut the Knicks' lead to 72-62 at the end of the third quarter, but didn't score for the first 2:56 of the fourth.

    Thomas had two jumpers and Ward a 3-pointer in a 13-2 run, and New York led by as many as 22 points in the final period.

    "I'm glad this trip is over,'' Toronto coach Lenny Wilkens said. "Right now, the way things are going, we have to have all cylinders working. When all cylinders aren't working, we struggle.''

    New York's guards outplayed the Raptors' even with Latrell Sprewell hitting only one of eight shots. Ward came off the bench to run the Knicks past the Raptors, hitting four of five shots and dishing out five assists in a key stretch during the second and fourth quarters, and teamed with Shandon Anderson for several flashy fastbreaks when the Raptors made second-half pushes.

    When the Raptors started double-teaming New York's guards, the Knicks' forwards got into the flow, too. Doleac played 27 minutes, and Travis Knight had six points in 19 minutes down the stretch.

    Anderson finished with eight points, while Lee Nailon added four.

    Voshon Lenard scored nine of the Raptors' first 11 points, but the Knicks took over in the second quarter, as Toronto lost a one-point lead and shot only 26 percent.

    Houston had a pair of jumpers, and Ward and Sprewell hit 3-pointers in a 12-2 run that gave New York a 50-37 lead at halftime.

    "There have been times in the past when we would have had that mental breakdown,'' Houston said. "This was a mental challenge more than anything else. We had to stay focused and intent on doing the things we need to do to keep the lead.''

    Game notes


    Knicks forward Antonio McDyess, who fractured his left patella during a preseason game, said in an interview with ESPN during the second quarter he hoped to return later this season from what was thought to be a season-ending injury. ... Carter (strained left knee), Davis (swollen right knee) and N'Diaye were not with the team. ... Clarence Weatherspoon served his one-game suspension, which he received for fighting with San Antonio's Kevin Willis in the Knicks' win over the Spurs on Monday. Both players were suspended, but Weatherspoon also received a $20,000 fine. "He didn't appear to be shocked. I was,'' Chaney said. "One guy threw a punch. I didn't think it would be a balanced penalty.'' Willis was said to have thrown a punch, but Weatherspoon pushed the Spurs' center into the crowd and attempted to follow him to the locker room. ... With 2½ minutes left, a fan sitting behind Toronto's bench yelled "Sit down, Lenny. The game is over.'' Wilkins didn't turn, but gestured at the fan with the three middle fingers of his right hand.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    TOR
    NY
    Points 75 95
    FGM-FGA 31-81 (.383) 37-77 (.481)
    3PM-3PA 3-14 (.214) 4-10 (.400)
    FTM-FTA 10-14 (.714) 17-22 (.773)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-42 7-42
    Assists 14 25
    Turnovers 14 9
    Steals 5 9
    Blocks 3 2
    Fast Break Points 1 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 19 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Toronto
    New York
    Jelani McCoy McCoy
    Points: 13
    Reb: 15
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Kurt Thomas Thomas
    Points: 26
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1