Toronto Raptors get Knicked up in loss to New York Can’t contain Carmelo Anthony goes off for 37 as Toronto loses game and Rudy Gay
By MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency
|John Lucas #5 of the Toronto Raptors controls the ball against Raymond Felton #2 of the New York Knicks on March 22, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. (Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP)
TORONTO - Alan Anderson was a one-man comeback train for a while there, but in the end he was no match for a Knicks team looking to cash its ticket to the playoffs.
And with a 99-94 win over the Raptors, the Knicks did just that.
For the most part, it was Carmelo Anthony responsible for getting the Knicks the first win of the season against Toronto in its third attempt despite some close calls.
Melo, who had a 12-point night and a 32-point night in the first two losing contests against the Raps was on his game most of the night. Landry Fields, who started in place of Amir Johnson at forward for the express purpose of matching up with Anthony, who he has had some success against in the past, didn’t have the same kind of success Friday night.
Anthony was backing him down in the post or shooting over him from mid-range with regularity. Even when the defence was tight, Anthony found a way. Alan Anderson also got a few cracks at Anthony, but he didn’t enjoy any more success against an elite shooter who was on top of his game.
“There’s really no stopping a guy like that,” Fields said. “You just try to make it as difficult as possible and I thought we did that but he just did his thing.”
For the night Anthony finished up with 37 points, but needed 31 shots to get there.
It was just his second game back after missing six of the past eight with a hyper-extended left knee.
“I talked about it at the top of the game not playing him very big minutes like that but this was a game we had to go get,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said. “When you play a team back-to-back like that you have to try to get that first one before they come up to your place so I just couldn’t find a gap there to sit him. Hopefully he’ll sleep tonight, ice up and be ready for (Saturday).”
Anthony wound up playing a game-high 43:04.
The Raptors did manage to get the New York lead down to two points with just over six minutes to go in the game, but the comeback stalled there.
Two minutes later the Knicks lead was back up to 10 thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Kenyon Martin and Raymond Felton.
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey liked his team’s push back in the second half but was once again frustrated by a first half in which his team just couldn’t finish anything.
“If we approached the first half the way we did the second half and not kind of tiptoe our way through, it’s a different game,” Casey said. “Carmelo is going to do that kind of thing and you know that. They’re probably saying the same thing about Alan Anderson.”
Anderson’s opportunity to shine came about when the Raptors leading scorer Rudy Gay got shoved in the back with about 7:04 to go and tweaked something.
Gay went directly to the locker room and did not return to the game.
“It’s a recurring thing,” Casey said of Gay’s back problems. “I saw when it happened. He stepped and got pushed at the same time and tweaked it. I don’t know if he will be day to day or what. I have to find out from the doctors.”
With Gay out, his minutes went to Anderson and the veteran responded with a 20-point third quarter on his way to a career high 35-point night.
“The only way in this league to get things done is to make them happen yourself,” Casey said. “Get open. Attack the basket. I thought Anderson did a great job in the second half of making his own. It’s a man’s game. Make a man’s play. Bust to the basket. Go up strong for your jump shot. I thought DeMar (DeRozan) did that too in the second half but we have to do it for two halves.”
The Raptors undoing though came in the second quarter where the Raptors offence stalled managing just 15 points and shooting just 5-for-20 in the quarter while the Knicks followed up a 25-point first quarter with another 25-pointer in the second.
Anderson did his best to make up for the loss of Gay. He finished the night with 35 points on 11-of-17 shooting that included 6-of-11 successful three-point attempts.
Without Tyson Chandler protecting the paint, the Raps had a field day when they did get the ball inside resulting in 40 points in the paint to the 30 the Knicks had, but Anthony erased the advantage with his own offensive contributions.