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Apr 16, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith (8) handles the ball against Toronto Raptors forward Tyler Hansbrough (50) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. New York Knicks defeat the Toronto Raptors 95-92. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

New York Knicks 95 - Toronto Raptors 92: exhibition game

 

Apr 16, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives to the basket during the first half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

The Toronto Raptors ended their finest season ever on a sour note, donating a win to the New York Knicks. The Raps’ starters built a big lead which they turned over to the second unit, who frittered it away. Despite the loss, Toronto backed into the #3 seed for the playoffs when the Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Chicago Bulls in OT. The Bulls and Raps finished 48-34, but the Raps are seeded ahead as the winners of the Atlantic Division, and will meet the Brooklyn Nets in the playoffs’ first round. The Nets, who have targeted the Raps as their desired opponent, rested their starters and were blown out in Cleveland. Thus Washington moves up to #5, and gets the Bulls.

Kyle Lowry shredded the Knicks in Q1, draining 17 of the Raps’ 28 points. It’s a shame this game was meaningless, as it would have been fun to see how many points our eye-popping point guard might have scored. However, coach Dwane Casey has bigger concerns, and was substituting freely midway through Q2. Kyle finished the night with 22 points in 26+ minutes. Dwight Buycks was dusted off, and given his opportunity to play significant time at the point, which he failed to take advantage of. I’d be surprised if he ever again steps on an NBA floor as a Rap after having more turnovers (4) than baskets (1/7) or assists (0). Nando De Colo continued his push up the depth chart with 12 points and 4 assists. Neither Julyan Stone nor Landry Fields dressed, even for this mock-game, and one wonders what their future holds in Raptor-land. Likewise for John Salmons, who was in uniform, but was the only Rap not to see the floor. Greivis Vasquez continued his run of fine play, hitting 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. He would end with 13 points and 5 assists, also in limited minutes.

Steve Novak did not have a triumphant return to his former home, trying 2 long balls and hitting nothing but air both times. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen him do that, and I hope it’s just a fluke. We need this guy. Tyler Hansbrough was active on the boards, and looks ready to contribute in the tough games to come.

Terrence Ross was a non-factor, as he has been his last few games. He needs to get more active on the offense.

The Raps didn’t win a game in which they led by as much as 21 points, and that can’t be sugar-coated. However, no one got hurt, and our starters got a lot of rest.

The playoffs begin Saturday afternoon at 12:30 at the Air Canada Centre.

 

 

 

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