Halftime: Raptors 39, Knicks 36


Box score

Here are three quick hits from the first half of Knicks-Raptors:


The Knicks must have had a good time in Toronto on Thursday with their day off, because they came out the flattest in a first quarter since their five-game winning streak started. The Knicks didn't apply enough pressure to Andrea Bargnani, allowing Tyson Chandler to D up the versatile power forward one-on-one. Bargnani had nine points in the first period. To make matters worse, the Knicks were late and soft with their help defense, which led them to trail 25-16 at the end of one. Off the bench, the Knicks were definitely missing Jared Jeffries' presence down low. While the Knicks went on a 8-0 run in the second quarter, their poor defense allowed the Raptors to keep clawing away.


Entering Friday, Carmelo Anthony was coming off back-to-back 5-for-15 performances, and in the first quarter he shot 2-for-7 from the field, mostly on jumpers. What's hurting Melo the most so far is that he's playing too rushed. That caused him to commit two turnovers in the first quarter and not get into a fluid shooting motion. Fortunately, he made up for his first-quarter bricks with a strong inside game in the second quarter, especially when the Knicks pushed the ball in transition. Melo finished the half with a team-high 10 points.


This represents that Jeremy Lin wasn't getting enough penetration and the Knicks' starters lacked ball movement. Lin breaking down the defense and team basketball need to happen for the team to have success. But the Knicks are still not a smooth-sailing machine on offense. The adjustment curve is still evident and the Knicks are falling back a little too much on isolation. Tonight, Lin was giving the ball up to Anthony too soon on the wing and there weren't enough pick-and-rolls. Instead, there were way too many jumpshots in the first half.

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.