August 2018
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Team Effort from Raptors Devours Knicks in 26-Point Whomping

Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images
Jonas Valanciunas led the Raptors in a 132–106 win in New York, thwarting any chance that the Knicks could regain composure at home.

The free-falling New York Knicks (24–43) started off their five-game homestand with a 132–106 loss to the red-hot Toronto Raptors (49–17), who have won eight straight games and 15 of their last 16 games. The game was a contest that wavered back and forth between the orange and blue being down 16 and being down eight, until the Raptors’ second unit ultimately pulled away with a fourth-quarter onslaught. The Knicks never stood a real chance and thus the tank keeps rolling.

The Raptors were able to overwhelm the Knicks with constant player motion and free-wheeling ball movement, leading to 32 assists on the team’s 47 made field goals . The Knicks, on the other hand, were just a step late all afternoon, leading to a ton of open looks for Toronto players. In all, they drilled 16 three-pointers on over 45 percent shooting from distance. 

The Knicks were able to hold the Raptors’ All-Star backcourt relatively in-check. Lowry finished with 16 points, seven assists, and four rebounds but didn’t score his first field goal until midway through the third quarter. DeRozan shot 4-of-16 from the field, and Frank Ntilikina did a great job of getting into his body and staying down on DeRozan’s pump fakes.

The real damage came from all of Toronto’s role and bench players, who Lowry and DeRozan were happy to defer to. Seven different players scored in double figures for the Raps and not a single one scored over 20. The Raptors’ five-man bench crew of Fred VanVleet, C.J Miles, Delon Wright, Pascal Siakam, and Jakob Poetel are outscoring opponents by 29.9 points per 100 possessions, which is the best mark for any five-man unit in the league, per FiveThirtyEight.

The Knicks scoring efforts were led by Tim Hardaway Jr. again, with 25 points on 7-of-17 from the field. He looked smooth in transition and finishing at the rim, contorting his body for athletic, odd-ball looking finishes, like this one:

Hardaway has been feeling it lately, averaging 22.4 points on 48.4 percent shooting from the field over his last nine games. Let’s see if he can keep it up through the remainder of the season as the new go-to guy for the Knicks.

Other Notes
  • With Enes Kanter sidelined by back spasms today, Luke Kornet drew his first NBA start and impressed with three triples on the way to a career-high 18 points. He has now scored 29 points in his two matchups against Toronto and five points in his other six games with the club.
  • Things got a little bit chippy at the Garden today. It’s nice to see even the smallest of fires lit under anyone on the Knicks’ ass, as they’ve been playing fairly passionless basketball of late.

  • Jonas Valanciunas did some damage inside against New York. He scored 17 points with 9-of-10 from the free-throw line. Without big-bodied Enes, the Knicks only had O’Quinn and Kornet to match up with the Lithuanian big man and neither seemed too intimidating inside despite O’Quinn’s three blocks. In all, Toronto scored 56 points in the paint.
  • Troy Williams played the best game of his Knicks career so far in Milwaukee, where he dropped 18 points on 7-of-14 from the field. Inexplicably, he only saw six minutes of action in today’s contest, most coming late in the fourth quarter with a 20-point deficit for the Knicks.
  • Trey Burke brought the Iverson braids back and dropped an efficient 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting. His midrange jumper coming around a high screen is a thing of beauty.

The Knicks face the lowly Dallas Mavericks at the Garden on Tuesday.

Check out the Knicks Film School breakdown from Sunday’s home loss versus Toronto:

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