Going into halftime all tied up with the New York Knicks, it appeared the Toronto Raptors were in for a back-and-forth battle. However, that all changed in the second half as the Raptors' offense stagnated greatly against the Knicks, who began to find their offensive groove courtesy of their trio of Villanova alumni.
Jalen Brunson finished with 22 points, on 3-8 made from three-point range, Josh Hart popped off in the second half with 17 points, going 3-4 from distance, and Donte DiVincenzo exploded with 21 points in 22 minutes of run, shooting an incredible 7-9 on his three-pointers.
What makes the crushing loss even worse is the fact that both Hart and DiVincenzo came off of the bench for New York, yet they were able to neutralize the Raptors with their lights-out shooting. On the other hand, the Raptors struggled mightily on the offensive end, as Scottie Barnes' 29-point outing was not enough to grind out a Toronto victory.
Both OG Anunoby and Dennis Schroder had trouble finding rhythm from beyond the arc, as they both sunk one out of seven attempts, respectively. An even worse statistic is Pascal Siakam's continued three-point woes, as he went zero of four in this Knicks loss, bringing his three-point field goal percentage over the last 14 games to an atrocious 10%.
The Toronto Raptors couldn't match the Knicks offensive firepower on their bench.
Their putrid offensive nights were unfortunately magnified by the Raptors bench's ongoing trend of lackluster performances. In 22 minutes, Gary Trent Jr. put up four points and four assists, Precious Achiuwa had eight points and six rebounds on mediocre efficiency, and Malachi Flynn grabbed four assists.
To their credit, given a bit of offensive struggles on their end too, forwards Jalen McDaniels and Chris Boucher showed a lot of heart and hustle in limited bench minutes, with Boucher bringing his usual energy boost. Still, hustle can only do so much to overcome an offense ranked 29th in the NBA (only the Grizzlies are worse) in 3-point percentage.
The tie-game at halftime showed the Raptors had a sense of grit and determination to begin the game, but once the Knicks trio began their hot stretch of shooting, it marked the beginning of the end for the Raptors' chances to keep the game competitive.
With no one in their starting lineup clicking from deep aside from the tremendous Scottie Barnes, and the bench once again proving to provide very little offensive spark, the Raptors witnessed a winnable game once again slip right through their fingers.