“You don’t just come here and say, ‘OK, coach, whatever you say,’” Casey said Friday morning in advance of the Raptors’ 99-94 loss to the New York Knicks. “You’ve got to build that understanding of what the coach is trying to do.” Casey professes that the pair’s relationship has improved drastically as the season has gone. It has had to: When Calderon was traded at the end of January, Lowry became Casey’s only viable option. Again, he’s coming in and he doesn’t understand. It’s something new. He has to do something different than he’s done for the rest of his career
But the Knicks really didn’t need much behind Anthony since the Raptors needed a career-night of 35 points from Alan Anderson to even make it close. Toronto’s slow start — stop us if you’ve heard that refrain before — set the tone as the Knicks took control from the start. It wasn’t anything New York did — it was on the Raptors as they once again couldn’t play hard or well enough for an entire game. “The thing about it is we were working our butts off, but we were getting open looks and missing open looks,” said Casey.
Carmelo Anthony played with a smugness that said ‘I’m too good to take this Raptors team seriously’. His play backed up his attitude.
Speaking of ‘Melo, while Anthony had himself his own big night (37 points), it took him 31 shots to get there and for the third time this season, Landry Fields’ defence gave him plenty of trouble. Fields was playing Anthony well through three quarters, so I don’t know why Anderson was suddenly guarding Carmelo in the fourth with Landry on the floor.
The Raptors offence, which was on life support in the first half, came to life around Anderson. Kyle Lowry — 9 points, 10 assists — hit a couple big threes in the third quarter and DeMar DeRozan came to life, scoring half of his 18 in the final period. Toronto nearly clawed all the way back, narrowing the Knicks lead to two midway through the fourth before Anthony and Martin silenced the run with timely shots and big offensive rebounds. In the end the Knicks spoiled Anderson’s career night. “It feels real good personally,” he said about his performance after the loss. “But when you can’t get the win you wish you did a little more.”
The Knicks (41-26) finally managed to earn a measure of pay-back, riding a strong outing from Carmelo Anthony to tame the Raptors (26-43) 99-94, who lost for the third consecutive time before a sellout gathering of 19,800. Anthony was awesome, filling the basket for a game-high 37 points as the Knicks took advantage of a suspect Toronto defence by connecting on 53.5 per cent (38 of 71) of their shots. Alan Anderson came up big for Toronto, establishing a new career high with with 35 points but for the Raptors, it was another case of too little too late. The Raptors, who trailed 50-37 at the half, failed to ramp up the intensity until the second half at which point it was too late to put a serious dent in the Knicks advantage.