The Toronto Raptors came away with a 103-93 victory over the New York Knicks, setting a franchise record of 10 consecutive wins.
After losing their first matchup of the season, due to a couple missed calls by the referees, the Raptors made sure they won in front of their home crowd. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry were great tonight, each scoring 26 points against a Knicks squad that was without Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, and Jose Calderon.
The Raptors held the lead ever since the 4:10 mark of the first quarter, and watched it grow to as much as 14. The victory helps the Raptors hold the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference, at the same gives the national televised audience a good idea as to what is exactly up north.
When going against any team that has a decimated starting lineup, it’s hard to expect a team’s full effort to always be there. The Raptors did lose focus on occasion, but they were able to play their best when it truly mattered, such as the 15-6 run they had when the Knicks came only one-point shy of tying the game with 6:39 left to go in the third quarter.
The Raptors scored over 100 points for the 30th time this season, by producing a balanced offensive attack led by their All-Star backcourt. As a team they’ve had better shooting nights, only converting 43.5 per cent of their attempts from the field, but a respectable 40 per cent from beyond the arc.
As usual, the Raptors were able to draw fouls to get to the free-throw line, putting up 21-29 from the charity stripe. A stat that sounds even more impressive when you compare it to their average of 25.6 free-throw attempts, the seventh highest average in the NBA.
As mentioned before, the Raptors didn’t have to go against the most talented offensive threats when they played the Knicks.
Despite that, the Raptors knew that they had challenges on the defensive end of the floor that they could learn from after losing to the Knicks on Nov. 10. Unlike their previous game, the Raptors did a solid job at defending the three-point line. They allowed the Knicks to shoot 26.6 per cent from distance before the final four minutes of the game, where the Knicks scored three three-pointers with the game already sealed.
The Raptors were also all over the Knicks’ shot attempts, combining for 11 blocks. The biggest factor was James Johnson with 4 blocks, including this one on Aaron Afflalo who led the Knicks with 20 points.
The Raptors won the battle on the glass by a total of 50-40, improving their record to 8-0 when they collect over 50 boards in a game.
Jonas Valanciunas was reminiscent of the late, great Moses Malone. As he picked up 8 offensive rebounds, the same number of total rebounds Robin Lopez grabbed to lead the Knicks in that category. Valanciunas also grabbed 10 defensive boards, giving him a season high of 18.
Cory Joseph also put in his efforts on the glass, collecting 7 boards for a new season high, to go along with his 11 points and 4 assists off the bench.
Game Ball: Kyle Lowry
If Kyle Lowry says he’s “fine”, everyone in Toronto better believe it.
After hurting his wrist against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night, Lowry was listed as a game time decision. After watching him in tonight’s game, it was definitely a good choice to let the All-Star point guard put on a show for the Air Canada Centre.
Lowry scored 26 points on 50 per cent shooting, dished out 10 assists, and recorded 3 steals. He was incredible when the Raptors needed him most, scoring 10 points in the last 3:31 minutes of the game, making sure that the Knicks had no realistic chance of coming back.
With the Raptors making team history with their 10th consecutive win, it’s important to note that Lowry also made some Raptors history -tying Alvin Williams for second all-time on the Raptors assist leaderboard. He was also just three three-pointers shy of tying Vince Carter for third all-time in made threes in a Raptors uniform, after going 3-5 from distance in tonight’s game.
All stats for this article are from NBA.com
You can follow Bryan Meler on Twitter @BryanMelo97