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Ford foils Curry as Raptors edge Knicks

Dec 3, 2006 - 3:50 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- T.J. Ford was giving up 120 pounds to Eddy Curry. But he would not let the Toronto Raptors give up the lead.

Ford scored six of his 20 points in the last 87 seconds to help the Raptors hold on for a 103-100 victory over the New York Knicks, who continue to struggle at home.

Chris Bosh had 26 points and 13 rebounds for the Raptors, who have won four of their last five games, a streak that started with rumors regarding coach Sam Mitchell's job security.

"Me and Chris, we're realizing that coming down the stretch, me and him have to make a play, one of us," Ford said. "Either make a play for ourselves or make the right play for the next person, but we can't guess where people are going to be at. We can't guess."

"It was real good," Bosh said. This is a big game for us, especially with the way they came back in the fourth quarter."

Toronto held a 96-87 lead with less than five minutes to play but almost collapsed under the burden of trying to defend the 285-pound Curry, who scored 11 of his 27 points down the stretch to rally New York.

Immovable in the paint, Curry had a free throw, layup, two foul shots and another layup to cut the deficit to 96-94 with 2:47 to go.

"I'm feeling real good right now," said Curry, who has six straight games with at least 20 points. "Honestly, I'm feeling like if I catch around the basket, I'm going to score. I feel like my teammates realize that and they're looking for me. As long as I keep feeling that way and they keep feeling that way about me, I'm definitely going to try and produce every single night."

"A lot of guys had to sacrifice their bodies - Rasho (Nesterovic), Chris Bosh, Kris Humphries - because Eddy Curry's a load," Mitchell said. "We knew what was coming with Curry but we just couldn't stop him."

Bosh split two foul shots and Curry scored again to make it a one-point game. But Ford - who also had 10 assists - made sure the Knicks got no closer, making a pair of free throws with 1:17 to play.

After another basket by Curry, the 165-pound Ford slithered through the defense for a demoralizing layup and a 101-98 lead with 56 seconds remaining.

"I just understand there's two people going to have the ball, either me or Chris," Ford said. "One of us has to make the play and I just want to continue to build the confidence in my teammates to know that down the stretch if we need a play, we need a shot or a drive and penetrate and kick, they're going to have just as much confidence as I have in myself that I'm going to make the right play."

"He played well tonight," Mitchell said. "(I told him), 'Don't try to do too much and just run the club and just look for opportunities.' But certain spots in the game, we need him to look for his shot."

New York's Quentin Richardson missed a potential tying 3-pointer. Bosh missed a jumper, but rookie Jorge Garbajosa grabbed the rebound and found Ford, who was fouled and made two more from the line to seal it with 11 seconds left.

Top overall pick Andrea Bargnani had his fifth straight double-digit game with 11 points for the Raptors, who overcame 40 percent (32-of-80) shooting by making 31-of-33 free throws.

Richardson had 16 points and 16 rebounds, Stephon Marbury scored 15 points and Curry swept 12 boards for the Knicks, who shot 45 percent (39-of-87) but fell to a league-worst 1-7 at home.

"It's very disappointing," Curry said. "At the end we got so close to winning here at home and they took it away from us. We dug ourselves too big a hole and we played around with them for too long and we just weren't able to get out of it."

"We're very tentative and cautious at home," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "There's an aggressiveness that we display out on the road that for whatever reason we haven't been able to overcome our fears of playing at home. It's totally mental."

Winners of five of their last seven meetings with the Knicks, the Raptors took an 83-80 lead into the final period and widened it to 89-82 on a running bank shot by Humphries.

Working over David Lee, Bosh scored 21 points in the first half as Toronto equaled a season high for points, grabbing a 64-60 lead. But a jumper by Marbury gave New York an 80-79 edge with 1:33 to go in the third quarter.

Richardson made four 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the first quarter to give the Knicks a 31-29 lead.

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