Tip-In: Inches - Felton's 3 Gives Knicks the Win Despite 41 from Raptors' Bargnani

It was another case of talent edging out effort as Raymond Felton's 3-pointer with seconds left sent the New York Knicks to a 110-107 win over the Toronto Raptors...

With 6:40 left in the second quarter, Jerryd Bayless dribbled, faked, and then pulled up for a jumper.

It hit the rim...

...the rim...

...and then dropped in.

Foreshadowing doesn't get any better than that.

Raymond Felton hit a game-winning 3-point jumper with 2.7 seconds left to give the New York Knicks a 110 - 107 win over the Toronto Raptors, a jumper that bounced no less than five times around said rim before finally finding a home through the mesh.

Game over.

Well, not quite.

Andrea Bargnani had one last shot at the tie but his long, long-range 3 came up short at the buzzer.

For the Knicks, the win was their 11th in the last 12, and Amar'e Stoudemire led the way scoring wise with 34 points, all the while grabbing 14 rebounds.

For Toronto, it was the Andrea Bargnani show.

41 points on a very efficient 16 of 24 shooting, 9 free-throw attempts, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals...there wasn't much more Bargs could have done to try and bring home the W for his team.  I counted one forced shot all night (not including the final desperation heave) and for the first time in ages he consistently looked to get his teammates involved when he felt they were better options.

Unfortunately Bargs just didn't get enough offensive help, and again, the team's overall D couldn't get the job done when it mattered.  Let's look at the first point to start.

Jose Calderon, Linas Kleiza, Sonny Weems and Leandro Barbosa were a combined 13 of 37 on the night, good for 35% from the field.  DeMar DeRozan chipped in 19, and Jerryd Bayless had 10, but it's pretty hard to beat teams with shooting like that from your surrounding cast, especially if you're not getting stops.

And to say Toronto got stops would be like saying Kanye West's new album has been a flop both critically and commercially.

The Knicks shot 48% from the field and in the fourth quarter proved unstoppable via the pick and roll as the game became a match of "who's going to miss first."

This brings me to my second point.

If you boil this loss down, to me it really was about the defense.

Because let's face it, both teams put on an offensive clinic and it really was tit-for-tat through most of the line-up.

-DeRozan had 19 points, but he allowed Landry Fields 9 of his own as well as 10 rebounds which gave the Knicks key extra possessions.

-Calderon had 11 points, but was torched by Raymond Felton to the tune of 28 and 11.

-Guys like Weems, Kleiza and Bayless had their moments offensively, but allowed Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari to go off for 34 between them.

-And while Bargs had 15 in the fourth quarter, Amar'e was just a tad better with 18, and outrebounded Andrea 5 to 1.

Without that ability to get stops, you need to play an almost perfect offensive game, and Toronto made too many small errors executionally down the stretch for this to occur.

An (albeit speedy looking) five-second call here, a bad shot by Kleiza there, a dumb foul by Ed Davis with two seconds left in the half and the Knicks in bonus...these types of things all add up over the course of a game and as we've said all season, with the Raptors lack of Grade A talent, their margin of error is so small that they can't afford miscues like these.

In spite of the loss though, this was one of the most entertaining matches of the year, a true back-and-forth, knock-down-drag-out affair.  Toronto put forth an excellent effort, a very encouraging sign coming off two losses were this effort was pretty non-existent.

As well, the Raptors were obviously much-more prepared, limiting the Knicks to only 8 of 21 shooting from downtown, a good sign for a young team looking to improve with each match.

Couple these points with Andrea Bargnani's monster night and you hope the team can take these positives back home Friday when the Denver Nuggets are in town.  The Nuggs were without star Carmelo Anthony last night due to knee issues, so perhaps the team lucks out yet again and faces a premier team that's missing one of its best.

Regardless of Melo's playing status however the match with Denver will be a tough fight and Toronto will need another big game from Andrea Bargnani.

Post-game the NBA.com crew noted that he had "a little Dirk in him," but "just a little."

For Bargs to truly take the next step he needs to put together a string of complete games like this, games where he's bound and determined to be the focal point on offence and if his shot isn't dropping, he's getting to the line, contributing in other ways, and acting as a decoy to get others involved.

And it would certainly be a boost if he could get a little more help from his teammates.

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