Knicks pull the plug on Raptors, extend winning streak to nine
Julius Randle scored 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the New York Knicks defeated the Toronto Raptors 120-103 last night at the Garden and extended their winning streak to nine straight wins.
This is the biggest streak since 2014 when a late playoff push that failed had them win eight in a row. Last time they won at least nine in a row was a season earlier (2012-13), when they last they made the playoffs, won a series and grabbed the Atlantic title.
RJ Barrett scored 12 of his total 25 points in the fourth quarter after delivering just 5 at halftime. He also finished in double-double collecting 12 rebounds as well. The Kentucky sophomore could barely give the post game interview as the little crowd wouldn’t stop cheering his name.
“It’s tough for teams to play here. Since the fans have been back, it’s been amazing playing here. They give us such a boost. We’re really playing hard together and really want to make them proud. We want to give them something to cheer about”
– RJ Barrett
The game had 14 lead changes and all of them happened during the odd periods. After halftime, the Raptors, who were trailing by 5, tried a takeover with Fred VanVleet making the first two baskets in a try to redeem himself from the inexplicable foul he draw at the previous buzzer.
But in the closing minutes of the third, the Knicks went on a 11-0 run that extended in the fourth, took a 14 point lead and from there the Raptors have never threaten the scoreboard until the final buzzer.
Derrick Rose led the second unit with 19 points and 7 assists making the opponents’ defense look like melted cheese. The crowd was quick to ask for him in the third while the starting point guard, Elfrid Payton struggled on the court. Obi Toppin and Taj Gibson added each 9 points off the bench.
Reggie Bullock added 16 points for the starting five and Nerlens Noel who only scored once, was a beast on the other end protecting the rim with four blocked shots.
The Raptors were led by VanVleet and OG Anunoby who scored 27 points each, Pascal Siakam had 26 and the rest of the team was in single digits.
The Knicks shot 56% from the field and 51% from the three point line, going 16-31. Toronto barely shot 43.4 from the field and under 40% from long range. The home team also outrebounded the Raptors 44-33 with their tight defense.
With just 11 games left to play, the Knicks who face one of the toughest schedules, are fourth now in the Eastern Confernce.
The Knicks (34-27) will host the Phenix Suns (42-17) on Monday from 7:30 pm.