The New York Knicks needed one in the worst way tonight, but struggled to find a rhythm, as an ugly third quarter proved to be too much to overcome in the fourth. The offensive and defense were both in sync at times, but never simultaneously until it was too late.
The first half was pretty sloppy on both sides, with lots of turnovers and tacky fouls, but ended with a three point lead for the Knicks. The third quarter was atrocious for New York, who let Rudy Gay get comfortable on his way to a season high 32 point night. The Knicks were able to come back in the fourth, but weren’t able to get out of the ditch they dug for themselves earlier in the game. Kyle Lowry made a contested, hook-like shot in the lane with 28 seconds left and then smartly fouled Tyson Chandler on the other end. Chandler missed the first of his two attempts and Toronto was able to seal the game with free throws.
However, some good may have come out of this game. I’m not usually a proponent of moral victories, it seemed the Knicks looked a hundred times more inspired in the fourth quarter. The offense and defense collectively found a rhythm, and although they weren’t able to close it out, they at least seemed to snap out of their funk. We’ll see if they can keep it rolling into Sunday’s game against Philadelphia.
Knicks Game MVP – Tyson Chandler, who was the only consistent defensive presence throughout the night. His stats don’t reflect the effect he had on the game. Even though he had five blocked shots, he changed many more.
Knicks Game LVP – Iman Shumpert, who didn’t score a bucket and played just under 15 minutes. We mentioned in the preview that Shump had to show up tonight to contain Toronto’s athleticism, But Woodson didn’t give him the opportunity to do that. It’s hard to be the best perimeter defender on the team from the bench. For Woodson’s sake, I really hope that Shump’s knee is too sore to log any more time.
Turning Point - Kyle Lowry made a contested, awkward floater in the paint with 28 seconds left to put the Raptors up two, then smartly fouled Tyson Chandler on the other end of the floor. Chandler missed one of his two free throws. Game.
Play of the Night - Sure, Kyle Lowry made a pivotal shot to put the Raptors up late, but it was the heads up play he made on the defensive end that won the game for them. With Tyson Chandler rolling to the hoop and Carmelo Anthony’s pass already in the air, Lowry grabbed Chandler at the last possible second. Chandler, who is shooting 69% from the line on the season, had made 16 consecutive free throws when he stepped up. He was long overdue for a miss and lo and behold, clanked his first attempt.
What’s Next - Philadelphia heads to the Garden for a 7pm, Sunday tip-off. I thought we were lucky to catch them without Andrew Bynum during early an early November home and home, which the Knicks swept. Almost four months later, the big man is still nowhere to be found.
YouTube Clip - Raymond Felton > Jeremy Lin, but this was the Knicks last win in Toronto