So what if Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors weren't perfect? Come overtime, they went from flawed to nearly flawless.
"We had so many mistakes on both sides, even defensively," coach Dwane Casey said. "But it was one of those games, if you're serious about winning, you find a way to get it done and our guys did it."
Lowry had 21 points and 11 assists, controlling the overtime period and leading the Raptors to a 95-90 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday night.
Lowry had nine turnovers and missed a jumper that would've won it to end regulation, but then had two baskets and an assist in overtime, accounting for more points than the Knicks managed as a team.
Terrence Ross added a season-high 22 points for the Raptors, who maintained the best record in the Eastern Conference at 18-6.
"It took overtime but I thought everyone stepped it up tonight," Lowry said.
Carmelo Anthony had 34 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who played without injured guards Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith.
Anthony missed all three shots in overtime, when the Knicks went 1 of 8.
"They applied a little bit more pressure than they had throughout the course of the game and kind of got us playing a little bit faster than we wanted to play," Anthony said.
Tim Hardaway Jr. got the start and scored 18 points, but missed eight of his final 10 shots and finished 4 of 15. The Knicks, who ended a 10-game losing streak with a victory at Boston on Friday, fell to 5-21.
Ross gave the Raptors an 86-84 lead on a short jumper with 2:39 remaining in regulation and the teams then went scoreless across the next 2 minutes before the Knicks finally tied it on Anthony's drive with 28 seconds to go.
Lowry missed a short jumper before the buzzer but Toronto then held the Knicks without a basket in overtime until Hardaway's meaningless layup with 5.2 seconds left.
Patrick Patterson's 3-pointer opened the scoring in OT and put Toronto ahead for good. Lowry later made a pair of jumpers before feeding Amir Johnson for a basket that made it 95-88 with 1:05 left.
Shumpert is expected to miss at least three weeks with a dislocated left shoulder. Smith is day to day with a small partial tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot.
Coach Derek Fisher said Smith would start, but the former Sixth Man of the Year was ruled out after warming up.
Raptors: Toronto improved to 10-0 when holding teams below 100 points. ... Jonas Valanciunas had eight points and 13 rebounds, ending his streak of double-doubles at three games, which tied a career high. The last Toronto player with four in a row was Chris Bosh late in the 2009-10 season.
Knicks: Smith said that the training staff had given him a whole new sole for his sneaker to make his heel more comfortable. ... With Jose Calderon and Quincy Acy, the Knicks' starting lineup had two former Raptors. Andrea Bargnani, Toronto's former No. 1 overall pick who was dealt to the Knicks in the summer of 2013, still hasn't played this season because of hamstring and calf injuries.
While All-Star DeMar DeRozan is out with a torn groin tendon, he's spending extra time around his coaches. Casey said DeRozan has joined some coaches' meetings, where he hears not only strategies, but criticisms of his teammates. Any worry that DeRozan will report what he hears back to them?
"I hope not, and if he does, I'm telling the truth," Casey said. "So I'm not telling him anything I wouldn't tell them to their face."
SEE YOU IN FEBRUARY?
Lowry is the only player in the NBA averaging 21 points and better than 10 assists in December, and with the Raptors atop their conference, will have a strong case to be back here in February for the All-Star game. "It would be one of them individual goals that you can check off, but I am not worried about right now," he said. "I am just worried about this team to keep getting wins."
Raptors: Host Orlando on Monday.
Knicks: Host Dallas on TuesdaySuggest a correction