The Knicks dropped a 100-98 heartbreaker to the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre on Friday thanks to a disaster of a third quarter and big contributions from Raptors Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry down the stretch. Losers of four straight, they are just one game up on the Brooklyn Nets for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.
Rudy Gay’s big night: When the Knicks played the Raptors before the All-Star break, they held Gay to 11 points on 4-for-21 shooting. Acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies at the end of January, Toronto’s go-to guy had scored 20-plus points in five of his six games with the team before that point. On Friday night, they didn't have the same success.
After a quiet first half, Gay exploded for a 17-point third quarter on 7-for-9 shooting. He added nine points in the game’s final four minutes to seal the win for Toronto.
“He played fantastic,” said New York forward Carmelo Anthony, who matched Gay’s game-high 32 points. “He made shots. When it was time to make shots, he made them. They made plays as a team. Coming down the stretch they executed, and he played extremely well.”
Lowry’s floater: While Gay brought the Raptors back in the third, Lowry converted the game’s biggest shot in the fourth. With Tyson Chandler draped all over him, he hit a floater with just less than 30 seconds left to break a 95-95 tie and give his team a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“Tyson did a great job; Kyle just hit a tough shot,” Knicks guard Raymond Felton said. “That was a tough shot. He shot a running floater over a 7-[foot]-1 guy. That’s a tough shot. Hat goes off to Kyle for hitting a tough shot There’s nothing you can really do about it. I don’t think Tyson could have played that no better. I don’t think we could have played that any better defensively as a team.”
Chandler’s foul trouble: Chandler picked up his fifth foul with 10:43 left in the game and the Knicks down by eight points. When he checked back in about seven minutes later, Gay was at the line, and New York was down by just one. Chandler enjoyed watching his teammates fight back.
“We’re a team,” Chandler said. “That’s what a team is about -- it’s not about any individuals. It’s not about me or anybody else, that’s the reason why we have as many bigs as we do. If I get in foul trouble, somebody comes in, s---, I hope when I go out that they play better.”
Breaking the cycle: The Knicks will face the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday at Madison Square Garden and, again, are talking about turning it around.
“When you lose games like this, you have a little streak like this it's easy to start thinking too much, over-thinking about what you should do, what you shouldn’t do rather than just going out there and playing basketball,” said Anthony. “I think that’s where we’re at at this point, so it’s just a matter of just getting that one game and start feeling good about ourselves, and we can start back on Sunday."