In a largely unwatchable game that reeked of Friday afternoon lethargy ahead of the all-star break, Toronto’s offence plumbed historic lows. The defence wasn’t much better, but the Knicks were helpfully awful on that score. Thanks in large part to New York’s wretchedness and the three-point shooting of Alan Anderson (6-for-8), Toronto won its fourth in a row, 92-88. Casey saw the distracted effort coming. The team plane was heading home nearly empty. As many as 10 Raptors were staying over in New York and moving on from there.
No big shots from Rudy Gay on this night. He hardly made any shots at all. Neither did Carmelo Anthony, bothered by what he called a dead arm after being hit in the biceps early in the game. Toronto won the battle of supporting casts, and the game. Reserve Alan Anderson scored 26 points in one of the few good offensive performances for either team, and the Raptors beat the New York Knicks 92-88 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight victory.
Alan Anderson completely saved the Raptors. He was the team’s only consistent source of offense, and seemed to hit a shot whenever the Raps needed one most. He finished the game with 26 points on 10-16 shooting, and 6-8from the free throw line. Anderson has been slumping since the trade, but seems to have turned things around as of late, which would be great for the Raps.
So how ugly was it? Well, the two teams started the game shooting a combined 2-for-18, finished the game shooting a combined 59-of-152, the Knicks shot less than 72 per cent from the free throw line, the teams combined for six technical fouls and Kyle Lowry was ejected in the third quarter for picking up two of those techs. Oh, and the two teams combined for just 24 assists on those 59 made field goals, which gives you an indication of how stagnant both offences were.
“It was quite a bit improved,” Casey said after his defence held Carmelo Anthony to 12 points on 5-of-24 shooting and the usually high-scoring Knicks to just 88 points. “I thought we closed out on the ball, contained the ball better and I don’t know who many points in the paint they had (32) but it was a lot less than 70 (which Denver scored) and that was our biggest challenge.”
The fourth quarter was a wrestling match which both teams seemed to want to lose. Gay and Anthony continued to clank most everything they tried. These two stars combined on the night to shoot 9/45, or 20%. The Knicks were getting points from J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton, but the Raps were sharing the scoring load. Landry Fields was a stalwart defender on Carmelo, and pulled down 10 rebounds. The visitors bent but didn’t break; New York twice crept within 3 points, but no closer. The dagger shot was Lucas’ tough jumper as the shot clock buzzer sound. The Knicks were down 6 with 54 seconds to play, and were forced to foul. The Raps hit all 6 attempts, and the victory was complete.
When the Knicks reflected on the game, they were disgusted that they did not take advantage of their opportunities at the free-throw line. They shot just 72 percent from the foul line and 35 percent from the field. They also missed 16 shots from behind the arc, finishing 9 of 25. “I thought we had great looks, and we missed a ton of shots that could have made the difference,” Coach Mike Woodson said. Anthony made a steal with 2 minutes 45 seconds remaining and the Raptors leading, 83-80. He sprinted to the basket as the crowd rose in anticipation. Then he watched with anguish as his layup rolled off the rim. “I should have made the layup,” he said.
The Knicks’ inability to survive Anthony’s worst game of the season as well as their failure to defend, added up to an awful performance in their last game before the All-Star break Wednesday night. Inexcusable, troubling and painful are all words that summed up the Knicks’ 92-88 loss to the Toronto Raptors, who were playing their second game in as many nights while Mike Woodson’s club was well-rested
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