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Rapid Reaction: Knicks 95, Raptors 92

4/17/2014

NEW YORK -- At least the Knicks went down fighting.

New York overcame a 21-point first-half deficit to beat Toronto at home 95-92.

It was the biggest comeback for the Knicks this season.

Even in defeat, the Raptors clinched the third spot in the Eastern Conference thanks to Chicago's loss to Charlotte.

As soon as the Bulls score was final, Raptors coach Dwane Casey pulled his starters.

That helped the Knicks cut a 13-point Toronto lead to two late in the fourth quarter.

J.R. Smith tied the scored at 90-90 with a transition dunk. Following a Steve Novak miss, Cole Aldrich had a put-back dunk to give the Knicks a 92-90 lead.

Smith then drilled a pull-up jumper from the right wing with 21 seconds left to all but seal the victory.

The Knicks finished the season winning 16 of their final 21. But they fell short of the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. They ended the year in ninth place in the East, one game behind the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith sizzles: Smith led the Knicks with 30 points on 13-for-19 shooting. He also had five steals and was the primary ball handler for much of the night. Raymond Felton had the night off.

Starting in place of Tyson Chandler, Aldrich had 13 points and 16 rebounds. The Knicks outscored the Raptors by 12 in the 40 minutes that Aldrich was on the floor.

Toure' Murry had a big night as well. Playing extended minutes for the second straight night, the point guard tallied 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 18 points. He finished the season with a combined 54 points in his last three games.

D-Fense: New York finished the year playing scrappy on the defensive end (where was that all season?). The Knicks forced Toronto into 25 turnovers and turned them into 22 points.

They held the Raptors to 20 misses on 29 attempts from beyond the arc.

What's next: Phil Jackson's first offseason as Knicks president. His first order of business will be to deal with the head coaching situation. Then he will have to address Carmelo Anthony's free agency.

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