Raptors Come From Behind To Defeat Knicks at MSG

Published on: 29th January, 2010


Raptors Come From Behind To Defeat Knicks at MSG  | read this item

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New York – Don’t you get the feeling this current Knicks season is beginning to take on the look and feel of previous seasons, which have mostly been of the losing variety? After tonight’s disappointing 106-104 loss to the visiting Toronto Raptors, during which the Knicks held huge early leads and a five point advantage with less than two minutes to go in the game, you begin to think this team is slowly moving into wait till next year mode, once again.

Chris Bosh’s 27 points and 15 rebounds and Hedo Turkoglu’s season-high 26 points and 11 rebounds led the Raptors.

New York is clearly playing hard and there doesn’t seem to be the fracturing among the players in the locker room that’s marked other losing seasons but their 3-7 record in the last 10 games reminds one of similar paths most of the Knicks teams over the past decade have taken. But these losses are coming at a time when the teams just ahead of them are playing solid basketball, leading to increasing space in the standings between the Knicks and teams like Charlotte, Chicago, and Milwaukee. A win by the New Yorkers tonight would have cut the Raptors lead over them to just four games but the loss instead, became a two-game swing, increasing Toronto’s lead to six games over the Knicks.

But that isn’t the worst of it.

The Knicks locker room afterwards was looking a little like a M.A.S.H. unit as Knicks forward Jared Jeffries was limping around after suffering a hyperextended right knee. Jeffries said he is scheduled for an MRI on Friday.

Al Harrington also said he’s going to the doctor to get treatment and an MRI for his left knee, which seems to have become a chronic issue.

“It’s been bothering me for six weeks,” Harrington said. “It’s been a while, a long time, but I was trying to hide it, and just keep playing through it. … This one is sticking with me.”

Meanwhile, Wilson Chandler is nursing a groin pull while Nate Robinson has a strained hamstring.

Danilo Gallinari, the 20 year old second-year player, always ices his surgically-repaired back after every game, likely to be a post-game regimen for the remainder of his career.

These pains always are debilitating but after a loss, they tend to be a little more painful than after wins.

Tonight’s game provided plenty of post-game hurt.

Their inability to close the deal with that five point lead with less than two minutes to go was also a reminder of past Knicks seasons.

Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni described the final possession of the game.

“The ball was going to go to Nate (Robinson),” he said. “He got hung up a little bit and Gallo (Danilo Gallinari) was worried about the five second call. We didn’t have another timeout and he threw it over to Al. No, that wasn’t where it was supposed to go.”

Robinson was unable to get free on that pass in.

“Nate was getting face-guarded by Jarret Jack,” said Lee. “I think it took us longer to get through the play than we had anticipated so we had to go to Al. The play was for me to screen for Nate and Nate was going to get the final jump shot and instead, the outlet was Al at the top of the key.”

The disappointment of not being able to hold onto the five-point lead late in the fourth quarter was still very evident in Lee’s post-game visage.

“With the five point lead we had, we had two drives, one by Nate, one by Al that looked like, to me, there was a little bit of contact,” he said. “It wasn’t called and they went down and executed two good plays very well. That was where we had our advantage and we had those one or two possessions where there could have been calls but they weren’t called.”

Harrington felt physically helpless on that last play.

“I was just the last resort and when I got it, my leg killed me and I had no brakes,” said Harrington. “I couldn’t stop the pull-up so I just tried to make the play and obviously got called for a charge.”

Bosh hit two free throws with 7 minutes left to give the Raptors a 91-85 lead, but New York battled back. Harrington converted a three-point play and made a 3-pointer to put the Knicks in front 100-97 at the 2:51 mark. Lee then got free for a dunk to extend the lead to five.

Back came the Raptors, who scored the next eight points. Turkoglu had two free throws and a rebound basket, and Jack scored inside. Bosh then drove past Wilson Chandler to make it 105-102 with 15.9 seconds remaining.

After Lee’s rebound basket, Jack hit a free throw, then got in front of Harrington on defense to secure the victory. Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said the ball was supposed to be inbounded to Nate Robinson.

Harrington finished with 20 points, and Chandler had 14 for New York.

The Knicks’ Lee didn’t make the Eastern Conference All-Star team, despite averaging 19 point and almost 12 rebounds per game. Lee shrugged off his All-Star miss before the game, saying it was out of control and calling the snub “motivation” for the rest of the season. The Knicks have been shut out of having an All-Star representative for the nine straight seasons, dating back to 2001 (Alan Houston and Latrell Sprewell).

He sure looked motivated against Toronto.

Lee ripped the Raptors for 17 points and 10 rebounds in the first half, showing off a nice face-up jumper and plenty of poise inside. He powered the Knicks to a 34-20 lead after one quarter, but Calderon had eight points in the second quarter to help Toronto cut it to 53-49 at halftime.

“They started making shots when they were pretty cold at first, and they did come back,” D’Antoni said, “but we’re up five points with about 50 seconds to go, that’s kind of where it turned on us.”

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