The woeful New York Knicks are returning to Madison Square Garden, where "Fire Isiah!" chants have become a common occurrence. Coach Isiah Thomas and his team likely are in for more of the same Friday when they open a home-and-home set against Chris Bosh and the Toronto Raptors.
The Knicks (16-38), who own the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference, endured sing-song chants calling for Thomas' firing on the road Wednesday, when they were embarrassed in a 124-84 loss at Philadelphia. They committed 16 of their 25 turnovers in the first half and trailed by as many as 46 points in the third quarter, one night after setting a team record with 23 overtime points in a 113-100 win at Washington.
"We've had our good moments and we've had our share of bad moments," Thomas said. "We've got to keep working. All we can do is keep working."
Thomas also claimed the players have been distracted by Thursday's NBA trade deadline and said "my guy's minds were elsewhere."
New York, though, made no deals Thursday and has dropped 10 of its last 12 overall. The Knicks are 10-17 at home, losing nine of the last 12 games, including a 99-90 defeat to Toronto (29-23) on Jan. 11.
Bosh, the team-leader with 22.9 points and 9.1 rebounds, powered that win for the Raptors - their ninth in the last 11 matchups with the Knicks - totaling 40 points and 11 rebounds.
The All-Star forward-center equaled that scoring output Wednesday, going 14-for-16 from the field and making all 11 of his free throws to spur an impressive 127-110 win over Southeast Division-leading Orlando, keeping Toronto percentage points ahead of Cleveland for fourth in the East.
Bosh has been outstanding in his last six games at New York, averaging 28.7 points.
"When we see them with their heads down, we want to stick the knife in deeper," said Raptors forward Jamario Moon, who had 17 points and 12 boards against the Magic. "We're going to put our foot on their throats from now on when we see them down."
The Knicks hope forward Zach Randolph can help them counter Bosh after he was limited to 10 points and three rebounds on Wednesday. Randolph - second on the team with 17.3 points per game and first with 10.1 rebounds - was outplayed by Bosh and then benched after just nine minutes, finishing with no points and one rebound.
Eddy Curry was also benched in that contest after totaling six points and two boards in 15 minutes. The center hasn't been much better of late, averaging 7.0 points and 2.4 rebounds over the last five games.
Toronto made a minor trade prior to the deadline, acquiring center Primoz Brezec from Detroit on Thursday for reserve guard Juan Dixon.
Brezec, who played alongside fellow Raptors center Rasho Nesterovic for Slovenia at the 2006 world championships, is expected to add depth behind Andrea Bargnani. The No. 1 overall pick in 2006 had only four points on 1-for-8 shooting Wednesday.
Toronto will host New York on Sunday.
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