THE FACTS: The New York Knicks clinched a playoff berth with their 99-94 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. The victory was New York's (41-26) first against the Raptors (26-43) this season in three games, and the game was the first of a home-and-home with Toronto on consecutive nights. Toronto has lost 11 of its last 14 games, including their last three in a row, while the Knicks snapped a three game losing streak versus the Raptors.
Carmelo Anthony put the injury-depleted Knicks on his back after only his second game back from missing three of his own, scoring 37 points and six rebounds. Kenyon Martin shot 9-for-10 from the field with season-highs of 19 points and 11 rebounds.
The Knicks dominated the first half leading by as many as 15 in the second quarter while holding the Raptors to .357 percent shooting, taking a 50-37 lead into halftime. The Raptors woke up after the break, especially Alan Anderson, who scored 20 points in the third quarter during a 13-9 run that brought the game to within six points. Anthony didn't falter, though, keeping the Knicks in the game and scoring 11 points of his own in the quarter closing it out 77-71. The fourth quarter was a slugfest much like the third as the Raptors pulled within two points, down 84-82 with 6:17 left. However, the Knicks promptly proceeded to go on a 10-2 run, capped by Raymond Felton's 25' 3-point shot that widened the lead to 94-84 and effectively put the game out of reach.
Anderson's career-high 35 points off the bench led the Raptors. DeMar DeRozan added 18 points, while Kyle Lowry scored nine points with a game-high 10 assists. The second of the home-and-home series is Saturday in New York.
QUOTABLE: "Melo was Melo, he refused to let us lose and we got a "W" out of it. That's what we came here for."
-- Knicks coach Mike Woodson
THE STAT: The Raptors allowed the Knicks to shoot .535 percent from the field, and .455 percent from the 3-point line.
TURNING POINT: The Knicks pulled away for good in the fourth quarter, with Felton's 3-point shot with 3:58 left in the game giving the Knicks a 94-84 lead. While the Raptors threatened within the last 30 seconds, New York staved them off by continuing to go to Anthony in the post.
QUOTABLE II: "I just try to stay ready, an opportunity came for me to come out and play because of injury, but I'll take it."
-- Knicks forward Kenyon Martin on making a contribution despite not being in the league a month ago
HOT: Anderson erupted in the third quarter, scoring 20 points shooting 6-for-6 from the field, including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.
NOT: While Anthony did the job, offensively, he had a game-high seven turnovers and struggled to contain Anderson on the defensive end.
NOTABLE: The Knicks were without Tyson Chandler (neck injury), Amar'e Stoudamire (right knee), and Kurt Thomas (right foot). ... Raptors forward Rudy Gay left the game in the second quarter with a jammed back and did not return. ... Tomorrow's game is on Jason Kidd's 40th birthday. ... Actor Isiah Whitlock Jr. and former Knick Micheal Ray Richardson were in attendance.
UP NEXT: For the Raptors, Saturday @ New York, Wednesday @ Atlanta, Friday @ Detroit. For the Knicks, Saturday vs. Toronto, Tuesday @ Boston, Wednesday vs. Memphis.