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Recap: Knicks 99, Raptors 94

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First Quarter:

The Knicks led the Raptors 25-22 at the end of the first quarter. The Knicks had a 24-15 lead after a bank three-point shot by Raymond Felton with 2:01 remianing, but the Raptors went on a 7-0 run to end the quarter. Carmelo Anthony struggled from the field, scoring nine points on 3-10 shooting. However, most of the misses were on catch and shoot jumpers and he passed the ball well out of double teams. Kenyon Martin had a strong quarter in the paint again with four points and four rebounds. He had a nice block of Jonas Valanciunas and a nice alley-oop jam. Pablo Prigioni played well again in his starting role. He had an amazing sequence when the hit a scoop shot from about the elbow with the shot clock running down, then he stole the in bounds pass, and found Anthony for a wide open three-pointer. Both teams shot 45% from the field in the quarter.

Second Quarter:

The Knicks played a solid second quarter, outscoring Toronto 25-15 to take a 49-37 lead into the locker room.  The Knicks started out the quarter on an 11-3 run that was capped of by consecutive three-pointers from Chris Copeland and Steve Novak. Toronto started the quarter only 1-11 from the field. The Knicks jumped out to a 47-33 lead with 2:46 remaining when it looked like Toronto would close the second quarter as strong as they closed the first. Anthony had a turnover and a missed three-pointer that allowed Toronto to cut the lead to 47-37. However, Martin got a steal and a dunk to get the momentum back. The Knicks played great defense in the half, as they held Toronto to 35% shooting. Tornoto certainly helped by taking some awful shots and by Rudy Gay not showing up and then heading to the locker room hurt. Really every Knick played well with the exception of Anthony, who was only 5-15 from the field. J.R. Smith took the ball to the basket again and attempted five free throws. Jason Kidd hit two three-pointers in the second and Novak hit both of his shots.

Third Quarter:

In a wild third quarter, Toronto outscored the Knicks 34-27 and the Knicks led 77-71 going into the fourth quarter. Alan Anderson absolutely torched the Knicks, scoring 20 points on 6-6 shooting and he hit three three-pointers. Anthony started off the quarter with a couple of turnovers, but then he got hot. He scored 11 points on 5-7 shooting, including a buzzard beating turnaround jumper to help halt some of Toronto’s momentum. Anthony was on fire from mid range,  as he hit four mid range shots all around the same spot on the right side of the court. Toronto did not double team him as hard as they did in the first half and Anthony made them pay. Toronto was on fire from three-point land, as they hit five in the quarter. Martin was great again in the third, scoring six points on 3-3 from the field and was a menace on the glass.

Fourth Quarter:

Anthony brought the Knicks home down the stretch, scoring 11 points in the quarter to lead the Knicks to a 99-94 win. The Knicks made their big run in the quarter up quarter with about six minutes remaining up 84-82. Anthony got an and-1 basket to put the Knicks up 87-82. Then, Felton found Martin wide open twice on pick-and-rolls for easy dunks to put the Knicks up 89-84. Felton, then hit a three-pointer to cap off the run and put the Knicks up 94-84 with about four minutes remaining. It was pretty much over after that point, but the Knicks let Toronto hang around because of five missed free throws down the stretch. Anthony hit a free throw to put the Knicks up 98-94 with 12 seconds remaining to ice the game.

Notes:

- Bad defense and free throw shooting in the second half, but, overall, the Knicks played very well and it was a really nice win.

- After a bad shooting first half, Anthony was terrific in the second half and most importantly he looks healthy.

- Mike Woodson will never learn with the minutes. Anthony had 43, Smith 38, Martin 36, Felton 42. WHY?

- No reason for, especially with a game tomorrow. It makes no sense, especially since the bench was playing very well in the second quarter. Novak hit both of his shots in the second and never plays again? Huh? Shumpert and Prigs looked good in the first half yet only played 17 and 10 minutes respectively. I don’t get it.

- Where would the Knicks be without Kenyon Martin right now? What an amazing pickup and his hops for a 35 year old are pretty crazy. He was huge on the glass and had some important tap outs down the stretch.

- Starting lineup with Prigioni and Felton looked good again. If only Woodson would use it more throughout the game.

- Would be nice to get the win tomorrow and have a four game winning streak erase the four game losing streak out west.

- The Knicks have clinched a playoff birth for the third straight year.