Crawford, Knicks Top Raptors, End Skid
New York 98, Toronto 96
NEW YORK, Feb. 15 (Ticker) -- Two losses shy of matching the worst losing streak in franchise history, the New York Knicks needed someone to step up. That someone was Jamal Crawford.
Crawford scored 14 points, including a go-ahead jumper with three seconds remaining, as the Knicks snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 98-96 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
Crawford made sure the Knicks did not come any closer to the dubious mark, making 6-of-12 shots and collecting eight rebounds and six assists despite being questionable with a sore lower back.
"Jamal played great, even without the (go-ahead) shot," Knicks coach Larry Brown said. "He played hurt, he had no business being out there. He was great."
"It's hard to sit and watch," Crawford said. "If you can jog a little, you should be out there. I was going to play and if it hurt too much, I'll sit down."
After Toronto rookie Charlie Villanueva buried a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left to forge a 96-96 tie, New York did not call timeout and gave the ball to Crawford.
Dribbling above the top of the key, Crawford went hard to his left and pulled up at the elbow, burying a jumper over Mike James to put the Knicks ahead.
"Coach didn't want to call a timeout so they could set up their defense," Crawford said. "Then it was up to me. I knew I was shooting the ball."
"If I thought we were disorganized I would have called a timeout," Brown said. "He just made a great play."
James, who scored of 13 of his 22 points in the fourth, missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer as Toronto failed to win four straight games for the first time this season.
"(The Knicks) had their backs against the wall," James said. "And just like an animal that's cornered, even if they're not dangerous, they'll bite."
Crawford's jumper capped a wild final 96 seconds as the teams traded buckets down the stretch. James made three consecutive baskets for Toronto, all driving layups, the last one pulling Toronto to within 94-93 with 38 seconds remaining.
Eddy Curry, who scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting, answered with a layup before James found Villanueva for the tying trey.
Jalen Rose, who was traded from Toronto to New York for Antonio Davis on Feb. 3, scored 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter for the Knicks, who made 14-of-15 free throws in the final 12 minutes.
"We just fouled too much and gave up too many points in the paint," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "In the last few minutes, everything for them seemed to come at the line."
Rose was 9-of-10 from the line in the final quarter after playing limited minutes due to foul trouble.
"Sometimes as a player when things don't go your way early, you have to find a way to contribute," he said. "In the second half, I just concentrated on making an impact."
Quentin Richardson added 14 points and rookie Channing Frye added 10 as the Knicks go into the All-Star break after winning for the first time in 11 games this season without Stephon Marbury, who is sidelined with a bruised left shoulder.
"I'm happy for the team that they can go home and enjoy this game and be energized," Brown said. "For me, I'm going to try to find ways to coach better and help these guys. I can feel better because these guys needed something positive."
First-time All-Star Chris Bosh scored 25 points and Morris Peterson added 19 for the Raptors, who managed just 64 points in the final three quarters after a blistering start.
Toronto made 12-of-18 shots in the first quarter led by Peterson and Bosh, who combined for 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting. The Raptors led by as many as 12 and had a 32-23 lead after the opening period but shot just 38 percent (23-of-60) thereafter.
"We didn't make the plays when it counted," James said. "We can't wait until the fourth quarter to start locking down. They made the plays and we didn't make the plays to seal the deal for us."