No Surprise
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New York @
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Record: 17-21
Mike Sweetney had 7 rebounds in 10 minutes (AP Photo)
Mike Sweetney had 7 rebounds in 10 minutes (AP Photo)
TORONTO (AP) -- Jalen Rose still isn't happy, though he's playing better.

Rose scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half, and the Toronto Raptors won their third straight game with a 98-81 victory over the struggling New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

The 10-year veteran has been unhappy since he lost his starter's job last month. He wore all black to the game because his name has been rumored in trade talks with the Knicks.

"It's only right I wear black. This is a team that I was potentially talked about being dealt to. One of the 500," Rose said. "It was just my statement to myself that regardless of how it went down I was going to be ready mentally and physically."

Rose continues to suggest he's not getting the proper respect.

"I hear a lot of speculation regarding my name. When people talk about what's good about the team, my name never comes up," said Rose, who has three years and $48 million left on his contract.

Chris Bosh added 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Raptors, who have won seven of nine. Bosh set a team record with his ninth straight double-double.

The Raptors made seven 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and outscored the Knicks 38-20 in the period to sent New York to its eighth loss in nine games. Nazr Mohammed had 16 points and 17 rebounds for the Knicks, who have lost four straight.

Embattled Knicks coach Lenny Wilkens inserted a healthy Jamal Crawford and Tim Thomas back into the starting lineup, but it didn't help much. Crawford went 3-for-14 from the field for seven points, while Thomas went 3-for-15 for 12 points.

"We're not going to turn on him," Crawford said of Wilkens. "He's not the one playing. He's preparing us, and his coaching stuff is preparing us, so we're not going to turn on him. It's on us. It's the players. We have to get it done."

Rose entered the game in the second half earlier than usual after Morris Peterson suffered a shoulder injury.

Rose repeatedly backed down a variety of Knicks defenders and shot over them.

When forward Kurt Thomas guarded him, Rose blew by him and converted a three-point play to give Toronto a 74-71 lead with 7:35 left.

All four of Rose's assists in the fourth quarter led to 3-pointers. After assisting on Lamond Murray's 3-pointer and making two free throws, he assisted on Donyell Marshall's 3-pointer, which gave Toronto a 89-79 lead with 3:24 remaining.

Rose blew by Jerome Williams and converted a three-point play to make it 92-79 with 2:20 left, then found Marshall open in the corner for a 3-pointer to give Toronto a 95-81 lead with 1:36 left.

"I thought everything ran from Jalen," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "We felt Jalen had some mismatches, like when they were small they couldn't have anyone guard him and then when they went big, we felt like Jalen could beat them and make the shot."

Notes: With Crawford back as a starter, Allan Houston will come off the bench again. Houston had 12 points in 27 minutes. "Until he gets back to where he is really comfortable I think this will be a good thing," Wilkens said of Houston, who has been hindered by knee injuries. "Allan understood. We sat, we talked about it. Allan has a lot of pride of who he is and what he has accomplished, but he also wants to help the team." ... Wilkens vowed the starting lineup could change quickly. "If they don't play defense, they'll sit down in a hurry," Wilkens said. ... Bosh changed his shoes after slipping and committing his fourth turnover of the first half.

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