It was ugly. The Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks combined for 49 turnovers and 47 personal fouls in a poorly played mistake-fest that the first-place Raptors had to pull it out in overtime against one of the NBA’s worst teams so far this season. Toronto outscored New York 9-4 in the extra period to win 95-90.
“It was one of those nights when everybody was struggling,” said Head Coach Dwane Casey. “Nothing would go, ball hits your hands falls out of bounds, fumble it out, it was uncharacteristic. We had so many mistakes on both sides.”
Toronto had 24 turnovers and 25 personal fouls led by Kyle Lowry who uncharacteristically booted possessions 9 times and nearly fouled out after picking up 2 more personal fouls in overtime to bring his total to 5. Lowry wasn’t alone as every Raptor except Tyler Hansbrough got in on deluge of poor ball-handling, careless passes, offensive fouls and some widely shared brain cramps. The Knicks claimed 11 steals – 5 by Amar’e Stoudemire and Casey praised them for their defense, however, a lot of that supposedly tough defense was given a huge assist by Toronto’s lack of focus.
The Knicks, however, refused to take advantage of the Raptors generosity and gave the ball back 25 times and managed to earn 22 personal fouls of their own. Tim Hardaway Jr. turned it over 5 times, Stoudemire 4 times and Carmelo Anthony thrice. Stoudemire picked up 3 fouls in the fourth quarter to run his total to 5, but he managed to avoid fouling out in overtime. Former Raptor Quincy Acy was the only Knicks starter that didn’t turn the ball over. The Raptors padded their steal totals with 14 thefts including 6 by Lowry – it was just that kind of a night for both squads.
Fans would be excused if they couldn’t stick this game out until the bitter end. This was not a well played game. New York shot 37.2 percent from the field and only managed to hang around because of some very generous free throw opportunities provided by the guys in gray. The Knicks went to the charity stripe 10 more times than Toronto for 9 more points – all of it relating back to a bizarre first quarter where the referees couldn’t seem to stop blowing their whistles for every real and perceived minor infraction. The whistle-fest slowed the game down to a crawl and made it nearly unplayable let alone watchable. As is often the case, the foul situation evened out over the course of the game, but the damage had already been done – aided greatly by the continued sloppy play from both teams.
Anthony led all scorers with 34 points and 9 boards on 11-24 shooting from the field and his 11 fourth quarter points was what got the Knicks to overtime. However, in overtime Anthony was 0-3 for 0 points as Casey switched power forward Patrick Patterson on him and the move completely stifled and frustrated Anthony over the final 5 minutes. Hardaway had 18 points on 4-15 shooting and Jose Calderon chipped in 13 points. It was the type of night Calderon was all too familiar with when he played in Toronto and his explanation sounded a lot like the ones he used to give after a Raptors loss.
“Some days are going to be better than others,” Calderon said. “(I am) just trying to find a way to fit in the system with teammates, with everything. I think we are getting there. It is the best team in the East and we compete and we get them to the last couple of minutes and we just got to make those shots and hopefully we’ll make it next time.”
Calderon had a lot of experience with moral victories in loses against better teams during his tenure in Toronto.
Terrence Ross led the Raptors with 22 points, but it was Lowry with 21 points – 4 in overtime – and 11 assists who both missed the critical shots in the final minute of regulation and made the critical shots in the extra frame. Jonas Valanciunas had 8 points and 13 rebounds for his fourth consecutive game with double-digit boards and just 2 points shy of his fourth consecutive double-double. Patrick Patterson shot 5-6 for 13 points including a big-time 3 in overtime.
“Pat Patterson did a magnificent job,” Casey said.
The 5-21 Knicks get the day off before facing Dallas on Tuesday. The 18-6 Raptors return home to face the Magic on the back-to-back. Toronto has defeated Orlando twice already this season, but the Magic has played them tough, this will not be an easy game.
Raptors rookie Bruno Caboclo was dressed for the game, but didn’t get a chance to play.
Yes, those were “Let’s Go Raptors” cheers at the end of the game in Madison Square Garden.
The Raptors have gone 4-3 since DeMar DeRozan went down with a groin strain two weeks ago, but one of those loses one was in overtime and the other two were against the Cavaliers. Toronto has shown no signs of letting bad teams get the better of them and New York is one of this season’s truly bad teams.