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Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Knicks 106, Raptors 87

By Ian Begley



Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Move over, Linsanity. Make some room for Woodsanity.

Under Mike Woodson, the Knicks have won four straight for the first time since mid-February, when Jeremy Lin led them on a seven-game winning streak.

They beat Toronto on Tuesday behind a balanced offense (four starters in double figures). They've won all four games since Woodson took over as interim head coach and reclaimed sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

THE GOOD: The Knicks' offense was extremely balanced on Tuesday. Four starters had at least 17 points, led by Amare Stoudemire's 22. Jeremy Lin scored 18 and was 2-for-3 from beyond the arc.Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler had 17 points apiece.

The Knicks led by as many as 16 in the third quarter but Toronto cut the lead to eight with 7:45 to play. Following a Toronto turnover, Lin found Steve Novak for an open 3-pointer on the ensuing break to put New York up 11. They led comfortably the rest of the way. On back-to-back possessions, Lin converted an open dunk and Anthony found Chandler for an alley-oop, as the Garden crowd erupted.

J.R. Smith led the Knicks' bench with nine points.

THE BAD: New York held Toronto to just 87 points, but the defensive intensity that they'd showed over the last three games wasn't there for stretches on Tuesday. The Raptors hit 52 percent of their shots in the first quarter and finished the night shooting 47.8 percent from the field. Not bad at all, but much higher than the 39 percent shooting the Knicks had held opponents to over the last three games.

BOLD PLAY THE GAME: Lin cut in front of Aaron Gray to track down a loose ball in the Toronto backcourt, dribbled past half court and found Landry Fields for an alley-oop 35 feet away from the goal. The play gave New York a 61-50 lead in the third and drew a loud ovation from the crowd.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks travel to Philadelphia to take on a Sixers team that, at 26-20 entering play Tuesday, is off to its best season in 10 years, when it reached the NBA Finals.

The Knicks were embarrassed by Philadelphia in the teams' last meeting -- a 106-94 Sixers' win at Madison Square Garden on March 11. Mike D'Antoni sat both Stoudemire and Anthony in the fourth quarter and afterward noted his team's lack of fight. Three days later, he was replaced as head coach by Woodson.

The Knicks are four games back of division-leading Philadelphia in the Atlantic.