Raptors Claw Past Knicks, Win Sixth Straight on Road
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Saturday, January 25, 2020
The Toronto Raptors won their sixth straight game - all on the road - downing the stubborn New York Knicks 118-112 in a physical battle at Madison Square Garden Friday night.
The Knicks under new head coach Mike Miller came to play this night, pounding the offensive glass early en route to an 18-2 run and 26-13 first quarter advantage. Raptors forward Serge Ibaka came off the bench late in the period and provided some much needed spark, scoring five points to cut the Knicks lead to eight after one.
The Raptors came out strong in the second quarter, going on a 13-0 run of their own to take a 43-40 lead, capped off by a three pointer from point guard Kyle Lowry. Toronto maintained a three point edge to lead 53-50 at the break.
The Raptors took a six point lead into the final quarter and led by as many as 12 points three minutes in to the final period. The Knicks, however, refused to go away, coming all the way back to tie the score, 103-103 with just over four minutes remaining. The Raptors responded, OG Anunoby hitting a crowd-quieting three, taking a nice feed from center Marc Gasol.
The Raptors then displayed the tenacious defense that was such an integral part of last season’s championship run. The Raps forced the Knicks to commit a shot clock violation and later forced Knicks forward Marcus Morris to take an off balance shot from beyond the arc. On the Raptors subsequent possession, Pascal Siakam hit two foul shots to give the Raptors a 108-103 lead with 2:23 left. The Knicks fought back, point guard Elfrid Payton scoring four straight points to cut the Raptors lead to one with 1:22 remaining. An explosive drive and slam by Siakam and two foul shots by Lowry following a steal by Anunoby gave Toronto a 112-107 advantage. Morris’ step back jumper kept the Knicks alive, but a dagger three by Siakam with 22 seconds left put the game out of reach.
Kyle Lowry was all over the floor for the Raptors, scoring 26 points including 13 of 14 foul shooting to go with three assists and four steals. Siakam, celebrating being named an NBA All-Star starter, finished with 23 points - 15 in the second half- on 9 of 15 shooting and adding seven boards, three assists and a block. Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell each had 16 points,
Julius Randle was a force at both ends of the floor for New York, scoring 20 points with 11 rebounds and three blocks. Morris had 21 points and ten rebounds, while Payton added 13 points and 11 assists. Damyean Dotson kept the Knicks close throughout, going 7 for 10 from the field including four of seven from beyond the arc to finish with 21 points.
The Knicks held a decided edge on the glass, outrebounding Toronto 46-31.
With the win, the Raptors improve to 31-14, good for third place in the Eastern Conference and sixth best record overall in the NBA. Toronto will be looking for its seventh consecutive win on the road when they visit the San Antonio Spurs this Sunday.