On Friday Night, at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the Knicks (41-26) defeated the Toronto Raptors (26-43) 99-94. Box Score
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 37 points on 14-31 shooting from the floor. He added six rebounds and turned the ball over seven times.
Kenyon Martin had a double-double scoring 19 points on 9-10 shooting from the floor and had a team leading 11 rebounds. Five of his rebounds were on the offensive glass and two steals.
J.R. Smith scored 14 points off the bench on 5-10 shooting from the floor. He also added five rebounds and had three assists as well.
Alan Anderson led the Raptors in scoring with a career high 35 points on 11-18 shooting from the floor including 6-11 from three. He also added six rebounds and three assists. Kyle Lowry added nine points and 10 assists while DeMar DeRozan had 18 points.
Rudy Gay left in the second quarter with a back injury after scoring only four points on 2-7 shooting from the floor in only 15 minutes of action.
Jason Kidd scored seven points, had five rebounds, three assists and one block in 30 minutes of action.
The Knicks have clinched their third consecutive playoff appearance which they have not done since a streak of making the playoffs every year from 87-88 to 00-01.
The Raptors bench, led by Anderson, outscored the Knicks bench 44-29.
Once again, Marcus Camby was the only player on the Knicks to play who did not score. John Lucas was the only player for the Raptors to play and not score.
The Knicks finished with their second-worst free throw percentage in a game this season as they shot 13-for-24 which was good for 54.2 percent
This was the Knicks first win over the Raptors this season in their past three games overall against them.
The Knicks are now 18-16 on the road this season and have only seven games remaining on the road.
Playoff basketball will once again return to Madison Square Garden and although it was assumed this day would come this year, it’s still nice to clinch a spot with 15 games left to play.
It was a struggle for the Knicks once again against the Raptors, as it has been all season for them against their north of the border rivals. Alan Anderson, with the help of the magical, evil powers of Robert Randolph, nearly stole this one for Toronto, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
It was quite a game for Kenyon Martin, who about six weeks ago was sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring, tonight for the Knicks. He was very good on the glass, didn’t get called for a lot of fouls by playing tough disciplined defense, and had a very efficient game on the offensive end.
It was a welcomed sight to see as the Knicks, minus Stat and Chandler really had no low post presence outside of the times Melo gets the ball on the low block. Martin was fantastic in the pick and roll and has become adept at finishing dunks off of misses.
I thought Melo at times looked like he was trying to hard, turning the ball over while fighting through double teams and forcing up contested shots early in the shot clock. Of course, you have the other times where he hits turn around fade away jumpers without any issue and you just shake your head because of how easy he makes it look.
The defense as well, outside of guarding Alan Anderson, was very good as well and has been for the past four games. It certainly behooves them to keep the defense going because when the Knicks allow under 100 points they are 33-10 and are only 8-16 when its above 100.
As a side note, I have watched a lot of college basketball this weekend and it was a pleasure to watch the pro’s play the game. It is amazing how poor the shooting has gotten in the college game and how the lack of awareness in crucial game situations is prevalent throughout game as well. Also, can anyone under the age of 21 hit a free throw? It looks like a train wreck out there. Rant over.
This was the kind of win where at the end you just wipe off the sweat from your forehead, take a deep breath and relax for the rest of the evening. It was a solid win, a gutty kind of win over a team the Knicks don’t seem to match-up well against and battling Robert Randolph’s evil powers is never easy.
At the end of the day, the Knicks won and are back in the playoffs again. For right now, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Coming up next the Knicks are at home for the second game of a back to back looking for a sweep as they will once again take on Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors. The game is on Saturday at 7:30 pm and can be seen on MSG.