The Toronto Raptors faced the New York Knicks without Rudy Gay, and with a hobbled Amir Johnson. The result was another ugly defeat in a season full of them. The Knicks are injury-riddled as well, but their mission-critical offensive contributors are just fine, thank you. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith combined for 53 points, and Kenyon Martin cleaned up the boards to add 18 more. The Raps, in theory a perimeter-shooting team (but one which can’t shoot from the perimeter), were outclassed from the opening tip.
Watching the game was disturbing, and a glance at the box score is enough to induce nausea. The Knicks outperformed Toronto in every statistical category one cares to name: total rebounds (44-35), 3-pointers (7-4, and with fewer attempts – John Lucas missed all 7 he tried), steals (14-6), assists (20-13)….is that enough unpleasantness? I’m going to pile on – the Raps poured in 30 points in the second quarter, and the singularly unfazed Knicks added 38 of their own. The Raps lost every quarter.
Terrence Ross was given substantial floor time (only 8 players hit the floor for coach Dwane Casey), and responded with 13 points, including 3 of 5 from long distance. Terrence continues to aggravate with his penchant for turning the ball over. I think he still underestimates the quickness of NBA players, e.g., Raymond Felton picked Terrence’s pocket from behind, which I’ll wager seldom or never happened to him in college. Despite his uneven play this season, the talented rookie is still our most likely future star. Jonas Valanciunas, gamely carrying on with his baptism-by-fire first season, had his second straight rough night against the aggressive, skillful Martin. JV did manage 11 points and 8 boards, but was minus28 for the game.
Kyle Lowry scored 14 points, but missed all 4 of his 3-ball tries. I can’t pillory him for having only 4 assists against 3 turnovers, as the Raps missed open shots which should have led to an assist. DeMar DeRozan, a model of consistent play, led the Raps’ feeble attack with 17.
The Raps return home to take on another playoff-bound team, the Atlanta Hawks, on Wednesday evening. Amir Johnson bobbleheads will be given away prior to the game. The way the Raps are playing, that might be the highlight of the night.
Brian Boake is a co-editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.