Melo Drops 37, Knicks Top Toronto 99-94, Clinch Playoff Berth

Jonah Ballow



How it happened:
It sure is nice to have No. 7 back on the floor for the Knicks.

Carmelo Anthony delivered a 37-point performance to lift New York to a 99-94 victory in its second trip north of the border this season. Not only did the Knicks capture their first win over the Raptors this year but the boys in blue clinched a postseason berth in the process.

New York built a 15-point lead in the second quarter and seemed in control at the half with a 50-37 advantage. In addition to Toronto’s scoring woes, Rudy Gay left for the locker room at the midpoint of the second period and was sidelined the remainder of the contest due to a back injury.

The Raptors received a big time performance from Alan Anderson in Gay’s place as he registered 20 of his 35 points and helped the home team fight back in the third period. Toronto scored 34 third quarter points while trimming the Knicks lead down to just six points heading into the final stanza.

Three crucial plays separated the Knicks from the Raptors down the stretch. With 5:37 left on the game clock, New York was clinging to an 87-84 lead. Raymond Felton dropped a dime to Kenyon Martin for a dunk; hit him once again for a layup, and then the Knicks point guard drilled a 3-pointer at the top of the arc.

The 7-0 New York run pushed the lead back to 10 points with only four minutes remaining in the game.

Despite some desperation attempts from Toronto, the Knicks closed the deal on the road for their third straight victory to improve to 41-26 on the season.

Knick of the Night:
While Anthony’s offensive output was essential to New York’s win, Martin rose to the occasion once again in the starting lineup. Martin hit 9-of-10 shots from the floor, scored 19 points, grabbed 11 boards, snatched two steals, and swatted a shot. Quite the stat line for a player that looks improved each and every game. He changed the complexion of the game on both sides of the floor, which helped New York counter the Raptors athletic frontcourt.

Statistically Speaking:
The Knicks finished 53.5 percent from the floor, reached the free throw line 24 times, and outrebounded Toronto 40-33.

Looking Ahead:
The Knicks jumped right back on the plane to New York where they will have a couple hours of rest before the matchup against a familiar foe. The Raptors and Knicks will conclude the season series on Saturday night at 7:30 PM at Madison Square Garden.

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