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Saturday, December 28, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Raptors 115, Knicks 100

By Ian Begley



Knicks owner James Dolan's big pep talk hasn't had the desired effect.

On Saturday, the Knicks fell for the second straight night to the Raptors.

The Knicks are 0-2 since Dolan told players that the organization wouldn't be making any coaching changes or trades. Of course, both of those losses came without Carmelo Anthony.

Still, New York was non-competitive for long stretches in the second and third quarters, and a late comeback attempt fell short in a 115-100 loss in Toronto.

The Knicks (9-21) entered their back-to-back, home-and-home series against Toronto with a chance to climb back into contention in the Atlantic Division.

But Saturday's loss left them five games behind the first-place Raptors.

Too little, too late: The Knicks cut a double-digit deficit to just six points with under four minutes to play on a Toure' Murry-to-Tyson Chandler alley-oop.

But on Toronto's next possession, Murry was whistled for a flagrant foul when he intentionally grabbed at Kyle Lowry. The Raptors point guard knocked down both free throws, then hit a 3-pointer on the Raptors' next possession to boost the lead back to 11.

Amar'e Stoudemire had a strong night in the second game of a back-to-back. He finished with 23 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes.

Murry also had some impressive moments mixed in with some early miscues. He had 11 points, 6 assists and 2 turnovers in 27 minutes. Surprisingly, he played the fourth quarter instead of Beno Udrih.

Lowry crushed the Knicks all night, though. The one-time Knicks trade target finished with a game-high 32 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds.


What's up with Shump?
Iman Shumpert's struggles continued Saturday. He had just six points on 2-for-5 shooting in 29 minutes and had some costly defensive mistakes in the fourth quarter.

Shumpert did have eight rebounds, and the Knicks outscored the Raptors by three when he was on the floor.

Udrih had just five points and three assists in 21 minutes. J.R. Smith also had a tough night, scoring 13 points on 5-for-16 shooting.


Bargnani gets booed, benched:
Andrea Bargnani was booed all night in his first regular-season game back in Toronto against the Raptors.

He finished with 12 points and just three rebounds in 18 minutes. He was not on the floor when the Knicks made their comeback as Mike Woodson seemed to go away from Bargnani and Udrih.


Awful perimeter 'D':
Toronto entered play averaging seven made 3-pointers per game. The Raptors hit 15 on Saturday and torched the Knicks' zone defense.

Terrence Ross finished with 23 points and DeMar DeRozan had 20.

What's next:
The Knicks will have four days to prepare for their next game -- a Thursday night contest at San Antonio. The Spurs matchup is the first of a brutal three-game road trip in Texas that concludes against the Rockets and Mavericks.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.