By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
RAPTORS 115, KNICKS 100 | Air Canada Centre
How it happened:
Facing the same team that beat them on Friday night at MSG, the Knicks suffered the same fate against the Raptors at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Playing without Carmelo Anthony for the third consecutive game, New York competed but failed to defend the perimeter in the 115-100 loss.
With an injury-depleted roster, Mike Woodson's team played hard but had the look of a group that played the night before. After giving 32-plus minutes to five different players on Friday night, only J.R. Smith eclipsed 30 minutes in this one as the coaching staff searched for a boost from the bench. For the most part, his team responded.
Amar'e Stoudemire answered the call, fueling a comeback attempt with his 20 second-half points, and pulling down nine rebounds. So did rookie Toure' Murry, who posted career highs in points (11), assists (6) and steals (3) in a career-high 27 minutes. Iman Shumpert managed a plus-3 rating by doing the little things, including grabbing eight rebounds.
But, led by Terrence Ross (seven 3-pointers) and Kyle Lowry (32 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds), Toronto nailed 15 deep balls and was showed it was the deeper team with an answer for every Knicks run. When New York pulled to within six with under four minutes to go, a Murry flagrant foul turned into a five-point swing and the outcome was sealed.
Knick of the Night:
While Murry showed that there could be more to come as he develops, the Knicks' standout was Stoudemire. On the second night of a back-to-back, his 30 minutes of premium effort sent an important message from a veteran leader.
A three-game Texas swing looms as the Knicks look to get back on track. Starting in San Antonio on Thursday, they'll play Houston and then Dallas in a four-day span.