Knicks knocked out
Toronto hands New York earliest exit since 1991
Updated: Saturday May 05, 2001 1:49 AM
NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Knicks didn't give themselves enough second chances.
Burdened by foul trouble and sloppy ball handling and seemingly incapable of grabbing an offensive rebound when it mattered, the Knicks stumbled to their quickest postseason exit in a decade.
"That's the thing that's most disappointing: We got outworked," said Latrell Sprewell, who led New York with 29 points. "I don't feel like everybody left it all out there on the court."
It's the first time since 1991 that New York -- just two seasons removed from a trip to the NBA Finals -- won't participate in the second round of the playoffs. That year, Michael Jordan's Bulls swept the Knicks in the first round.
This defeat also ends New York's run of perfection in first-round Game 5s -- it had been 5-0 in such contests.
Toronto, swept by the Knicks in the first round in its postseason debut a year ago, moves on to play the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round starting Sunday.
"It's definitely frustrating -- to not get out of the first round, to lose to this team," Knicks center Marcus Camby said. "We had our chances. We just couldn't get over the hump."
Through three quarters Friday, Toronto held a 15-0 edge in second-chance points, dominating New York under the basket en route to building leads as large as 13 points.
New York's aggressiveness was limited because it stockpiled fouls. Camby fouled out, Kurt Thomas (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Allan Houston (16 points on a series-low 10 shots) each finished with five fouls.
The Knicks also had 19 turnovers -- seven more than Toronto -- and lost despite outshooting the Raptors 51 percent to 47 percent.
"There were times when I felt like I had to carry the team," a frowning Sprewell said. "We made some mistakes down the stretch, turning the ball over, not getting into sets on offense. We weren't strong with the ball, we let them take the ball from us."
While he got little help and complained about it, Carter got support down the stretch. Alvin Williams finished with 18 points, Antonio Davis had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and ex-Knick Chris Childs provided 10 points and nine assists.
For all their foul trouble, rebounding woes and lapses in energy, the Knicks were right back in the game, trailing only 81-80 after Thomas' shot off the glass with 3:51 to go.
And then -- after Childs' jumper made it 83-80 -- came a rare occasion when the Knicks managed to grab an offensive rebound.
Glen Rice missed a jumper, and Sprewell sliced his away through the lane, got his hands on the ball and threw it at the basket. The ball tantalizingly tapped the rim twice before dropping away with 3:15 remaining.
Another missed chance.
Two minutes later, with Toronto ahead 85-83, Carter showed his hosts how to do it.
He missed a jumper but stormed to the hoop, pulled down his own rebound and put it back up and in to give the Raptors a four-point cushion they wouldn't relinquish.
When Houston -- who could leave New York as a free agent this offseason -- picked up his fifth foul with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, Toronto was ahead 70-57.
Thomas got his fifth in the opening minute of the fourth quarter and the Knicks trailing by 12. But the forward was instrumental in the ensuing 12-2 Knicks run that closed the gap to 73-71 halfway through the fourth quarter.
After Carter and Charlie Ward traded 3-pointers, it was again a two-point game at 76-74.
That was the score when Camby fouled out with 6:15 left, called for a blocking foul on Carter.
"We did a great job of just relaxing and playing like we'd been there before, which we hadn't," Carter said. "I'm just happy to be here. If it's luck, I'll take it."