Knicks, Without Stoudemire, Stagnate On Offense In Loss to Raptors

Published on: 3rd January, 2012

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Knicks Anthony Basketball
Knicks, Without Stoudemire, Stagnate On Offense In Loss to Raptors

New York newest basketball Knicks Carmelo Anthony smiles during an introductory news conference before an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) Original Filename: Knicks Anthony Basketball.JPEG-0cdc9.jpg  | read this item

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New York — With or without Amar’e Stoudemire in the lineup, the New York Knicks still appear to be a work in progress in the early stages of this season. Very much a work in progress with not a lot of light at the end of the tunnel.

Without Stoudemire, missing his second consecutive game with a sprained ankle, the Knicks offense was stagnant throughout the contest as most of their players on the floor watched the one dynamic player with the ball in his hands, Carmelo Anthony,  shoot and shoot some more (13 of 31 shots from the field) as he attempted to bring the Knicks back from a 51-34 halftime deficit against an exhausted Toronto Raptors unit that was playing its third road game in a row.

Anthony’s 35 points and 11 rebounds weren’t good enough as the Raptors held on in the fourth quarter to beat the Knicks, 90-85.

It usually isn’t a good plan when one player takes 40% of a teams’ total shots but there it was, Anthony being counted on to score, rebound, guard, and play point forward against the young Raptors.

“In the midst off a game like that, we’re just trying to come back from a deficit and and I’m just trying to be aggressive,” Anthony said. “I wasn’t too concerned about how many shots I took. I was just trying to do what I could to bring us back and try to win the basketball game.”

“They made a run, we knew they were going to make a run,” said Raptors coach, Dwane Casey. “Our guys bounced back, hung in there, took the blow and absorbed it, and came out and competed.

Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan each scored 21 points to lead the Raptors.

Jose Calderon added nine points and 12 assists for the Raptors, who blew a 16-point lead Sunday in Orlando before losing 102-96. They opened a 17-point advantage at halftime in this one thanks to the Knicks’ inept second quarter then held on to snap a three-game losing streak.

“We didn’t let their run get to us,” DeRozan said. “The last couple of games you know teams made runs on us and we let it get to us and we kind of broke down on the defensive end. So tonight we didn’t let that happen.”

Toney Douglas had 22 points for the Knicks, 12 during a third quarter that finally woke them up after a dreadful second period in which they made three baskets. But he appeared to forget the play when the Knicks inbounded down three in the final seconds, forcing Anthony to launch a long-range attempt that missed with 13 seconds left

Coach Mike D’Antoni was all the way on the court hollering for Douglas to move before the ball was thrown in, and he said after the game the Knicks forgot the play that was to be run.

“I thought the whole first half our energy was down. We didn’t play real hard. And then I think we got a little snake bitten in the sense of when you’re not playing hard, things aren’t falling, it started being contagious and everybody started missing shots, and we were playing on our heels,” D’Antoni said. “Halftime we talked about it and we came out and played aggressive and I thought second half was really good, but we needed obviously 48 minutes and didn’t get it.”

The Raptors missed a chance to extend a three-point lead in the final 90 seconds when Amir Johnson blew a dunk, and Anthony followed with a drive into the lane to cut it to 84-83 with 1:04 to go. Bargnani answered with a jumper, and after Tyson Chandler’s dunk, Bargnani sank a pair of free throws to keep it at a three-point edge with 17 seconds left.

Anthony missed the 3-point attempt and Anthony Carter, who finished last season with the Knicks, hit two free throws to make it 90-85 with 10.7 seconds remaining.

Stoudemire could be back Wednesday against the Bobcats, and Iman Shumpert could return this week, ahead of the two to four week absence that was expected when he sprained a right knee ligament in the Christmas opener.

The Knicks showed how badly they could have used his help in the first half.

“Second half we played with a lot more confidence,” Anthony said. “First half, I really don’t know what was wrong with us. No excuses, but I think, I know, in the second half we did a better job defensively. Offensively guys made shots.”

DeRozan hit a 3-pointer to open Toronto’s second-half scoring, but the Knicks surged back behind Douglas, who had a four-point play among his 12 points in the period as New York got within three before Toronto took a 67-58 lead into the final period.

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