NEW YORK, Jan. 1 (Ticker) --
The Toronto Raptors finished a
nightmarish road trip in the wrong place.
The Raptors completed a winless five-game road trip with their
sixth consecutive loss to the New York Knicks, who got 26 points
and 14 rebounds from Kurt Thomas
in a 95-75 victory.
Toronto's losing streak reached a season-high eight games with
its fourth straight loss at Madison Square Garden. The Raptors
have lost six straight road games and 12 of their last 13
"I'm glad this trip is over," Toronto coach Lenny Wilkens said.
"They just have to end it. Right now, the way things are going
we have to have everybody working on all cylinders. When all
cylinders aren't working, we struggle. We need to work on some
things and we need to practice."
"We came into the game pumped up, we were ready to go. Guys
were excited, we were trying to get on a winning track, and
start the year off fresh," Raptors forward Jerome Williams said.
"A few mistakes and the walls caved in."
New York held Toronto under 100 points for the 23rd consecutive
game - the fourth-longest such streak in the shot-clock era.
scored 15 points and Michael Doleac
reserve Charlie Ward
added 11 apiece for the Knicks, who have
won the first two games of a four-game homestand.
The Knicks had a 38-35 lead late in the second quarter before
scoring 12 of the final 14 points in the first half. Houston
sparked the run with a jumper and Charlie Ward
made three-pointers around a dunk by Thomas.
Houston capped the quarter with a jumper with one second
remaining to give New York a 50-37 halftime cushion.
"We came in at halftime and we were upset that we let them get
back into the game," Thomas said. "We just wanted to come out
and jump on them early. Not give them an opportunity or any
kind of confidence."
The Raptors did not get closer than 10 in the second half and
the Knicks had their largest lead at 91-69 on a 14-foot jumper
by Thomas with 5:13 remaining.
New York shot 48 percent (37-of-77) from the floor, despite
Sprewell's 1-of-8 performance, and committed only nine turnovers
en route to its third win in four games.
"We're trying to establish some consistency," Houston said. "I
think that is what we are doing. In a long season you are going
to have stretches where you're not playing well. You have to
find a stretch where you find the rhythm and find some
consistency. I think we're putting a lot of effort into it."
Toronto was limited to 38 percent (31-of-81) shooting, including
3-of-14 from 3-point range, and had as many turnovers as
assists with just 14.
scored 15 points as the Raptors lost for the 14th
time in 18 road games this season.
scored 13 points and Jelani McCoy
collected 13 and
15 rebounds for Toronto, which could not capitalize on a hot
The Raptors made 10 of their first 15 shots but still was
clinging to a 21-19 lead after Lindsey Hunter
's 3-pointer with
65 seconds left in the first quarter.
Ward responded with a 3-pointer and the Knicks took the lead for
good when Doleac opened the second quarter with a long jumper
for a 24-23 edge.
"I was very concerned once we got the lead, because usually when
you get a lead you have a tendency to relax," New York coach
Don Chaney said. "You tend to be not as sharp and not as
intense. I thought our second unit really kept the pressure on
and kept the intensity level high."