As good as it gets for Raps

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

The Raptors gave the New York Knicks a huge knick in the pants yesterday.

New York strutted into the Air Canada Centre on a six-game win streak, confident that they would make quick work of their Atlantic Division rivals.

But somewhere between the warmup and the tip-off, coach Larry Brown's team completely lost it. In a game where defence was only a rumour, the Raptors dominated New York, posting a 129-103 victory in front of 17,393 delighted fans.

The 129 points were a franchise high for a game. Their previous mark of 128 was accomplished twice -- March 13, 2005, against Philadelphia, and March 10, 1996, against Dallas.

The Raptors weren't exactly defensive zealots, allowing the Knicks to shoot 48% from the field. But they did win pretty much every offensive battle -- and did it without the services of starting guard Mike James, who was forced to beg out of yesterday's game because of lower back spasms.

The Raps, who moved the ball exceptionally well, shot 59%, with Jalen Rose, Morris Peterson, Chris Bosh and point guard Jose Calderon leading the charge.

"It was about as complete a game as we can play," Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell said. "There's some things we have to do better defensively, but as far as moving the basketball, sharing the ball and setting screens, I thought everybody played well."

Rose played his best game by far this season, picking up a season-high 31 points in 23 minutes off the bench, as well as six assists. He also played solid defensively. Rose received a nice ovation from the crowd when he left the game late in the fourth.

Mitchell went out of his way to praise the two-way game of Peterson, who also had a season-high 28 points.

"I tell my young guys all the time: 'Do I run any plays for Mo? Never. And Mo had 28 points.' If we move the basketball, we're going to get good shots and good things are going to happen," he said.

Peterson was given the brutal assignment of guarding Knicks' star guard Stephon Marbury, who tried to carry his team on his shoulders with 18 points and 13 assists.

"I never feel forgotten (out there)," Peterson said, of his place on the team.

"I realize my role on this team and I think the faster they guys realize their role on the team, the better we're going to be.

"I just play hard every day. I have tough defence assignments and I know every once in a while I might get a couple of shots and it's my job to hit them," he added.

"That's what I do."

Calderon picked up his second career double-double with 13 points and 10 assists. Bosh had 23 points and six boards. Rookie Charlie Villanueva had 15.

The Raps now embark on a gruelling five-game, eight-day road swing through the West, beginning tomorrow night in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz.


Videos

Photos