Dec 28, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (7) is congratulated by guard Greivis Vasquez (21) after defeating the New York Knicks at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Knicks 115-100. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Raps 115 - New York Knicks 100: Love those 3-balls

The Toronto Raptors, despite letting the New York Knicks hang around, were able to steady themselves in crunch time. An emotional overreaction by a young Knick allowed the Raps to stop the bleeding late in Q4, and keep the visitors at bay. Wonderful games from Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross did not go to waste, as the Raps made fifteen 3-balls on their way to completing a sweep of the home-&-home series.

Dec 28, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard Terrence Ross (31) hits a three-point shot against the New York Knicks at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Knicks 115-100. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Raps began the game sluggishly once again, but the Knicks don’t have a lot of offense they can count on, and the teams went back and forth for some time. Lowry knows a scoring vacuum when he sees one, and stepped in to provide 9 points in Q1.

The Knicks enjoyed a run in Q2, and briefly seized the lead. DeMar DeRozan, our model of consistency and effectiveness, responded with an old-fashioned 3-point play, and the Raps were never headed (though we didn’t know that at the time). The Raps lead at the half was 13, and they stretched it to 21 halfway through Q3 before the Knicks started chipping away. Amare Stoudamire came off the bench and began backing down our big men to score in the paint. He would lead his team with 23 points and 9 rebounds. [20-second timeout: I can understand why the New York press is calling for coach Mike Woodson's head. His starting backcourt of Beno Udrih and Iman Shumpert had no points in the first half. Andrea Bargnani had 12 points, but wasn't on the floor in Q4. Is it any wonder this team has fallen and can't get up?]

The Raps seemed to have the game safely in hand once Greivis Vasquez nailed his third straight 3-ball of Q4 to put the Raps in front by 17. The Knicks, to their credit, did not roll over. They scored inside and out to narrow the gap to 6 points, then Toure Murry lost his composure. As Kyle dribbled up court, Murry crumpled to the floor. Kyle stepped by him, and Murry reached up to grab him by the ankle and haul him down. An astonished Kyle kept his cool and hit the 2 free throws awarded for the Flagrant Foul. The Raps retained possession, and Kyle nailed a 3. The sellout crowd at the Air Canada Centre could breath again, as the margin was back to 11 with 3 minutes to play. Another DD basket-and-one was the final dagger.

TRoss buried 7 of 11 shots from distance, so we’ll forgive him his irksome inability to make shorter shots. Jonas Valanciunas was called for 5 fouls, several of them imaginary, so spent more time on the bench than we’d like. He still managed 9 points and 10 boards. DD will have better shooting days, but it’s hard to argue with plus-19. However, all those worthies must bow to Kyle Lowry, who poured in 32 points, and handed out 11 assists against only one turnover. He even grabbed 8 rebounds. I still can’t believe there was chatter about trading Lowry for Iman Shumpert. I wouldn’t trade him for 5 Shumperts.

Toronto, which retains the Atlantic Division lead with the win, enjoys a few days off before heading to Chicago on New Year’s Eve.

Brian Boake is Senior 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.

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Tags: DeMar DeRozan Kyle Lowry New York Knicks Toronto Raptors

  • Guy

    Things are sure looking swell these days Brian. I felt the team would be improved after the Rudy Gay trade, but to this degree? Wow..The ball movement, team play, re-emergence of Amir & evolution of JV & Ross, solid defense, improved bench…. since the trade, this looks like a team that should be added to, not torn down. And I have to apologize to John Salmons. I didn’t expect much from him at all & thought he’d be nothing more than trade bait at the deadline. How wrong was I? Not super efficient shooting but he can score, good defense & is providing something the Raps haven’t had for a few years….. a veteran presence that can play quality minutes. He doesn’t panic when things aren’t going well & I think that’s rubbed off. When they’re down or the other team goes on a run, they’re remaining calm/poised, dig in & get after it. I think Salmons has been instrumental in that regard.

    What can you say about Lowry? I must admit, I’m feeling a certain sense of satisfaction watching him play this season. Last year, I had voiced my opinion on other sites(sorry) that Calderon, for various reasons, needed to be traded & that Lowry was the better long term Pg option. Boy did I take heat for voicing that opinion. It’s safe to say I’m feeling somewhat justified these days because he’s been great at both ends of the floor.

    If Ujiri’s ultimate goal was to get into the lottery, the team is sure making it tough on him. If they maintain this level of play, it’ll be very interesting to see what Ujiri does as the deadline approaches. Looking forward to it.

    Happy New Year!!!

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Guy:
      It’s always to good to hear from you.
      Your key point is the idea that the team should be enhanced, rather than blown up. I’m in complete agreement. We have the right mix since the trade; the kids are starting, and the vets are coming off the bench. Salmons & Vasquez have not shot well yet, but I think they will. I took my brother to the Knicks game, and he said afterwards that’s the best he’s ever seen the Raps look. Rudy Gay would be a champion at 3-on-3, but in real hoops, you have to move the ball, and that’s beyond him. Good luck, Sac-to, you’ll need it.
      Interesting you bring up Calderon & Lowry…please see my Lowry 2-part post, starting today; I’d like to hear what you think. I love Jose, and wish we could somehow get him back. I could see him as the backup shooting guard, since he’s hitting his 3-balls at such a high rate.
      As to what Masai should do – I wrote last week that he should wait until late January to decide whether to stay the course, but if the team keeps winning, he can’t blow it up.
      Happy New Year to you, and thanks for commenting.