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Raptors Can't Stop Knicks From Long Distance At ACC

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December 5, 2010

TORONTO -- (CP) A slow start and a miserable shooting performance Sunday cost the Toronto Raptors dearly.

Amare Stoudemire scored 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as the New York Knicks cruised to a 116-99 victory over Toronto.

The Raptors missed layups, dunks and failed to hit open jumpers all afternoon.

``I don't know what it was,'' said Raptors forward Amir Johnson who had a career-best 16 rebounds and a season-best 22 points. ``We were taking good shots but we just couldn't knock them down.''

What hurt most of all, though, was the bricks they tossed up from the free-throw line.

Toronto hit only 50 per cent from the charity stripe (11-for-22) while the Knicks were 18-for-21 (85.7 per cent). They also hit 12-of-27 three-point attempts.

The Raptors outscored the Knicks 32-27 in the second quarter to cut a 16-point lead down to 10 at the break, despite shooting just 4-of-12 from the line.

``Our guys tried, we just didn't play very well,'' Raptors head coach Jay Triano said. ``We missed dunks, layups, free throws. I mean we shoot 50 per cent from the line and we're in the top half of the league in free throw shooting going into the game.

``I don't know what that is. It's going to happen sometimes. There's 82 games.

To their credit, the Knicks did a good job spreading the floor and hit their open shots.

``We didn't do a very good job of covering them on the perimeter,'' Triano added. ``We weren't into help. It wasn't like we were occupied with something else. Tough for our wings today, they had a tough day.''

Wilson Chandler added 21 points for New York and Raymond Felton chipped in with 18 of his own to go along with eight assists.

New York (12-9) has won seven in a row on the road for the first time since the 1994-95 season and has won nine of its past 10.

Jerryd Bayless had 23 points, six assists and seven rebounds coming off the bench for the Raptors (8-12), who also lost to the Knicks on opening night.

Johnson was 10-for-14 from the field and 2-for-4 from the line. Andrea Bargnani scored 16 with seven boards.

``I thought Amir was very good today,'' Triano said. ``But to beat a team like this we need to have a lot more guys play a lot better than we did today.

``You can go through the list and see who didn't play well for us. When the list is that long, you're not going to beat the better teams. This is one of the best teams in the NBA right now.''

The Raptors finished a four-game home stand 2-2 and have won six of their past nine.

``We got into an early hole and it's tough,'' Bayless said. ``It's tough to get back into it. They shoot a lot of threes. They just keep on trying to suck you into the paint and then they're going to kick it out.''

Stoudemire, meanwhile, has scored 30-plus points in four straight games.

When Toronto got closer at the start of the fourth quarter, Stoudemire took over. He had 15 points including 7-for-7 from the free-throw line in the fourth.

``There are times when you have to take over and I felt the fourth quarter was the time to be dominant,'' Stoudemire said. ``Toronto was doing a good job of fighting back, trying to plow their way back into the game.

``I felt the fourth quarter was going to be a great opportunity for me to go ahead, try and be dominant and then take control of the game.''

Notes: Raptors forward Peja Stojakovic missed his fourth game in a row with a swollen left knee. ... The Knicks entered Sunday 11-9, their best record after 20 games since 2001-02 when they also were 11-9. ... Toronto plays at Indiana on Monday night and at New York on Wednesday. ... Attendance at Air Canada Centre was 16,891.