Friday, December 27, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Raptors 95, Knicks 83
By Ian Begley
NEW YORK -- Is it too late for Mike Woodson to lower those expectations?
In the New York Knicks' first game since Woodson said he "expected" them to repeat as Atlantic Division champs, his team came out and laid an egg against the division-leading Raptors.
Of course, the Knicks were playing their second game without Carmelo Anthony, who sat with a left ankle injury.
But this was a winnable game with or without Anthony. The Knicks had a 12-point lead midway through the third quarter and led by five early in the fourth but couldn't hang on thanks to poor rebounding and shaky interior defense in the final frame, ultimately falling 95-83 to the Raptors.
The Knicks (9-20) were outrebounded 16-9 in the fourth and gave up six offensive rebounds, leading to four key second-chance baskets.
New York shot just 5-for-19 in the fourth quarter and walked off the floor to boos for the second straight home game. The Knicks are just 4-12 at home. They went 31-10 at Madison Square Garden last season.
Offense stalls without Anthony: Anthony sat for the second straight game due to an ankle injury -- and the offense suffered.
The Knicks shot just 38 percent from the floor and couldn't get anything going in the fourth.
The Knicks fell to 14-15 without Anthony since he joined the team and 99-77 when he plays.
Aggressive Andrea: There were a couple bright spots for New York. Andrea Bargnani seemed to be motivated by the sight of his old team.
He finished with 18 points and a season-high 12 rebounds in his first game against Toronto since the July trade that sent him to the Knicks.
The Hard way: Rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. took advantage of an increase in minutes due to all the Knicks injuries.
Hardaway (15 points) hit 4-for-5 3's in 37 minutes.
No Novak: Ex-Knick and Garden folk hero Steve Novak did not play on Friday. He was part of the trade package that landed Bargnani in New York. Novak hasn't played in 10 of Toronto's 27 games this season.
What's next: The Knicks will take on the Raptors in Toronto on Saturday night. They are four games behind Toronto for first place in the division.