NEW YORK, March 24 (Ticker) -- Howard Eisley
could teach the Toronto
Raptors a few things about shooting from the arc.
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Eisley hit three 3-pointers during a decisive run bridging the
final two periods as the New York Knicks handed the Raptors
their ninth loss in 10 games, 100-90.
The win moved the 10th-place Knicks within 2 1/2 games of
Milwaukee for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff
spot. New York trails ninth-place Washington by one game.
"We don't take anybody for granted at all," Knicks coach Don
Chaney said. "We know that teams are not going to just let you
win, you have to compete. At this junction of the season, teams
who aren't playing for anything are the most dangerous."
"We don't really look in the past anymore at this point," Knicks
guard Allan Houston
added. "It is even dangerous to look back
at this game. We need to concentrate on what got us over the
hump tonight, which is intensity. You may not do it every
second, but if that is your focus over 48 minutes, you will
still give yourself a chance."
The Knicks trailed, 62-56, after a jumper by Morris Peterson
4:43 left in the third quarter before Eisley started connecting
from the outside. His first 3-pointer gave New York the lead
for good, 66-64, with 2:43 to play in the period and, after a
jumper by teammate Latrell Sprewell
, he closed the scoring in
the quarter with another shot from the arc to make it 71-64.
"We kept covering for each other," Knicks center Kurt Thomas
said. "We kept moving our feet and we contested shots. Don
said we weren't contesting enough shots in the first half."
"We had a couple of guys get tired and we needed to make some
substitutions, which hurt us a bit," Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens
said of the end of the third quarter. "We missed shots and
they made them, which hurt us."
Eisley's third 3-pointer gave the Knicks a 78-68 advantage with
9:13 left, and New York led by between seven and 16 points
Toronto missed its first 12 3-point attempts before Vince Carter
connected from the arc to pull the Raptors within 89-77 with
5:01 left. Toronto finished 4-of-17 from 3-point range while
the Knicks were 8-of-23.
Thomas contributed 23 points and 10 rebounds and Houston scored
20 points for New York, which shot 52 percent (39-of-75)
en route to its ninth straight home victory over an Eastern
"I was really pleased to just see everybody get the ball and
everybody having fun," Houston said. "It hasn't been like that
in a long time. All of our games have been really ugly. It
wasn't pretty, but at the same time, it was just fun to see
everybody getting involved, playing hard, sharing the ball and
being rewarded for playing hard."
Eisley and Sprewell finished with 13 points apiece for the
Knicks, who improved to 15-15 against teams with current losing
"We started off poorly and then we were able to muster the
energy to come back and win," Sprewell said. "The way we
started, we were setting ourselves up for disappointment."
collected 23 points and 12 rebounds and Carter
added 21 points for the Raptors, who fell to 0-14 in the finale
of back-to-back contests. Toronto also has lost seven straight
"I found myself away from the basket a little bit more tonight,"
Davis said. "The defensive intensity was there, it was just
more on the perimeter, and that's because Kurt played well from
"It's been tough the last five or seven games for me," said
Thomas, who shot 11-of-17 despite battling an elbow injury. "It
was just good to shoot the ball decently tonight. My teammates
kept looking for me and kept telling me to shoot the ball, and
it was able to go in."
Despite 14 points from Thomas, the Knicks trailed, 28-22, after
one quarter as Carter scored 12 for the Raptors. New York
rallied in the second period to take a 50-49 halftime lead.
"We have been undermanned the whole year. We haven't had our
full arsenal," Carter said. "We still don't have it. At the
same time, it's not an excuse. We can't let third quarters go
to waste like that, especially when we are playing so well. It's
going to kill us every time."