The Knicks had a chance to beat a quality team and record their first two-game winning streak in six weeks, but it became a missed opportunity because of so many missed opportunities.
The Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors were there for the taking, but Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks couldn't connect or make the plays to pull off the upset.
In the fourth quarter and overtime, the Knicks missed 13 shots and committed three turnovers with a chance to tie or take the lead, and wound up suffering a tough 95-90 loss to the Raptors Sunday night at the Garden.
"All of these opportunities we're missing, we're letting slip out of our hands," Anthony said. "It's right there. I really don't think Toronto did anything special. I think it was more on us and what we didn't do rather than what they did."
Anthony led the Knicks (5-21) with 34 points but was 0-for-3 in the extra period with a turnover.
The Knicks were 1-for-8 in overtime with a five-second violation and were outscored 9-4. Overall, they shot 37.2 percent, committed 25 turnovers and lost for the 11th time in 12 games.
"We had five minutes of basketball to play and we didn't get back to some execution things that we talked about between the fourth quarter and overtime," Derek Fisher said.
Some of the things that had been working for the Knicks were pick-and-roll action, which looked like what they ran before the triangle offense came into their lives. The players reportedly aren't happy with the system and looked more comfortable with the other sets.
"I thought we ran it a couple of times, it worked," Anthony said. "At the end of the regulation, we stuck with it. We were very productive. Down the stretch and the regulation, that's what we was running that was working."
In the end, the Knicks' execution was poor when it mattered most. After Anthony's layup made it 80-79 with 5:55 left in the fourth quarter, the Knicks shot 4-for-20, scored 11 points and had four turnovers.
"These close games that we're losing," Anthony said, "the teams are not beating us. We're kind of beating ourselves."
Terrence Ross scored 22 points and Kyle Lowry 21 for the Raptors (18-6).
The Knicks were without Iman Shumpert because of a dislocated left shoulder. J.R. Smith was penciled in to start despite a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot, but he was limited during a pregame workout and couldn't play.
Tim Hardaway Jr., who started at shooting guard, came down hard on his leg on a drive in the third quarter. He was hobbling and left the game but eventually returned and finished with 18 points. Hardaway slammed his chair, cursed and walked out of the locker room before speaking to the media.
Lowry could have won it in regulation, but his off-balance baseline fadeaway was short as the buzzer sounded. In the overtime, he matched the Knicks with four points, including a tough baseline fadeaway to put Toronto up 93-88 with 2:00 left.
Anthony missed two three-pointers on the next possession, leading to Amir Johnson's layup and a seven-point deficit with 1:05 left.
After a timeout, the Knicks couldn't inbound the ball and were called for a five-second violation. They also had a 24-second violation in the fourth quarter with a chance to take the lead. The Knicks' only basket in the overtime was Hardaway's layup with 5.2 seconds left. "We had some unforced turnovers . . . that we just gave them the ball, kicked it away, threw it away," Anthony said.
In regulation, Ross hit a jump shot with 2:38 left that gave the Raptors an 86-84 lead. But the Knicks wasted four chances to tie the game.
They got a fifth opportunity after Anthony’s missed jump shot went out of bounds off of the Raptors. This time, Anthony came through, driving to the basket to tie the game, 86-all, with 28.7 seconds left.
But the Knicks know this was a wasted opportunity.
“At the end when we talk about execution all the time on defense and offense, they made the shots we didn’t,” Jose Calderon said. “We have to keep getting better.”