In one of the ugliest games in recent memory, the Toronto Raptors got major scoring contributions from their second unit, and fierce defense from everyone, to upset the New York Knicks at MSG. The Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony and the Raps’ Rudy Gay, expected to lead their teams in scoring, were firing blanks. However, Alan Anderson picked up where he left off against Denver and then some, leading the Raps with 26 points. John Lucas III pitched in 12, and orchestrated the offense following Kyle Lowry’s ejection from the game. The Raps enter the All-Star break on a four-game win streak.
This match started slowly, and remained sluggish the entire way. Both teams were frustrated by poor shooting, and began chirping at the referees. As a result, the foul count went sky-high, including technicals on both teams. The Raps’ offense was hapless, ending the first quarter with four baskets, the last one being Anderson’s first of six 3s. The Knicks were sputtering as well, but still managed a four point lead. In the second quarter, Steve Novak, the Knicks’ 3-point specialist, hit three quick shots, while the Raps languished. The margin grew to 11 before the Raps clawed back with a pair of 3s from that Anderson guy. Being down 5 at the break was flattering.
Whatever Dwane Casey said to his charges during intermission was taken to heart. The Raps swirled around and through the Knicks interior defense for a number of easy baskets. DeMar DeRozan was hitting his increasingly reliable fadeaway jumper, and when the Knicks got in his face, drove and was fouled. DD ended up 10/10 from the stripe, on his way to a 20-point night. The Raps’ fine effort looked like it would go to waste when Lowry got T’ed up twice in 5 minutes for yapping and was gone. The second technical was a bad call, as Kyle was walking away from the ref. Lucas was up to the task at point, and he and Anderson buried consecutive 3s as the Raps took their first lead of the night.
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.