Game Rap: Raptors 92, Knicks 91
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
DeMar DeRozan drilled an 18-foot turnaround jump shot with 1.9 seconds remaining to give Toronto a 92-91 comeback victory over the New York Knicks. The Raptors completed a comeback from 17 down as they played in their third consecutive game without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry.
On Monday afternoon the team announced that Kyle Lowry will undergo surgery on Tuesday morning to remove loose bodies from his right wrist. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Michelle Carlson in New York City. The wrist began bothering Lowry following the team’s Feb. 15 contest versus Charlotte and he has missed the last thee games because of it.
After meeting with doctors in New York and also discussing things with team doctors, it was determined that it would be best to undergo surgery now to put Lowry in a position to get ready for the postseason. Masai Ujiri spoke with Toronto media about the injury on Monday afternoon.
“It’s a little disappointing for us,” Ujiri said. “But we’re also lucky…try to get ahead of it and hopefully it’s a good time for it where he has the surgery tomorrow and we see how it goes. When you lose a player like that for a certain amount of time – Kyle is an All-Star player, he leads our team in minutes, he leads our team in a lot of things - there’s always going to be some sort of disappointment there. The team goes on, and we’ll play our best and hold home court until he gets back.”
While Lowry is out, the team will roll with reserve point guards Cory Joseph, Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet. Ujiri expressed confidence in what the trio has shown thus far.
“I think Cory and Delon and Fred have been capable,” Ujiri said. “We believe in them, and we’ll go from there.”
Since acquiring Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline, the team has been anxious to get them on the floor with Lowry. Having to wait for his return is obviously a disappointment, but their presence helps make up for Lowry’s absence in the weeks to come.
“Those guys will continue to help us,” Ujiri said. “The big picture was to have them play with Kyle…we are patient, and we will continue to wait, and Kyle will get better and come back strong.”
Although the Knicks led by just four after the opening quarter, the Raptors did not get off to a good start on Monday. Perhaps it was tired legs from flying straight to New York following a Sunday victory against the Portland Trail Blazers, but Toronto allowed the Knicks to shoot 50 percent in the opening quarter. They followed that up by giving up 59 percent shooting in the second where they were outscored 28-19. Toronto’s bench struggled significantly in the first half, as the Knicks led by as many as 17 points before going into the half ahead by 13. Toronto’s reserves were scoreless from the floor (0-for-8) in the first half as DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 17 points.
STEPPING UP THE DEFENCE
As has become routine over the previous three games, the Raptors stepped things up defensively in the third quarter. After allowing the Knicks to shoot 54 percent in the first half, Toronto held New York to just 25 percent shooting in the third quarter where the Knicks made 4-of-16 field goal attempts. In comparison, the Raptors shot 41 percent, connecting on 9-of-22 attempts. Toronto outscored New York 23-14 in the quarter to trim their deficit to four heading into the fourth.
DEROZAN FOR THE WIN
In a back-and-forth final quarter, DeMar DeRozan came up big for the Raptors once again. DeRozan scored 14 points in the quarter, including Toronto’s final 12 points. After a three-pointer from Serge Ibaka tied the game at 78 with 4:16 remaining, DeRozan matched the Knicks shot for shot, drilling a long three-pointer with 1:35 remaining to put Toronto ahead by two. After Derrick Rose tied the game on a layup, the Raptors went for a quick score, DeRozan getting a layup to go to put Toronto ahead by two with 30 seconds remaining. After a broken play and offensive rebound led to a Courtney Lee three-pointer to give the Knicks a two-point lead with 10.6 seconds on the clock, the table was set for DeRozan’s game winner. With 1.9 remaining, DeRozan drilled an 18-footer to give Toronto the comeback win from 17 down.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
DeMar DeRozan continued the roll he’s been on since the All-Star break, scoring a game-high 37 points in 38 minutes. DeRozan shot 13-for-25 from the floor, 1-for-3 from beyond the arc and 10-for-13 from the free throw line while adding a team-high eight rebounds, two assists, and a steal. In the previous three games without Lowry, DeRozan is averaging 37.6 points on 54 percent shooting.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
DeMarre Carroll’s numbers didn’t jump off the page, as he scored nine points to growth five rebounds and two assists, but the Raptors were a team-best +10 when he was on the floor. Carroll shot 3-for-8 from the floor, including 1-for-4 from deep and 2-for-2 from the line. When the team was struggling to find its way defensively, Carroll was there, providing energy on both ends of the floor.
THAT'S A RAP…
“We’ve got to do it defensively, especially losing an All-Star like Kyle. He carries us a lot on the offensive side, but guys are still getting used to playing with each other. We’re getting used to playing with Serge, playing with P.J., we’ve just got to keep focusing on defence. The offence will come.”
- DeMarre Carroll on dealing up the defence moving forward
BY THE #’S
15…Points for Serge Ibaka, 10 points for Jonas Valanciunas.
41…Rebounds for Toronto, 40 for New York. The Raptors held an 11-8 edge on the offensive glass.
12…Turnovers for Toronto leading to 13 Knicks points. In comparison, New York turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 22 points scored by the Raptors.
17…Points was New York’s largest lead. Toronto’s largest lead was four points.
THEY SAID IT…
“Everybody made their shots. Courtney Lee came in and did a good job of coming offscreen. They did an excellent job, but I also say that wasn’t us in the first half. Low energy, feeling sorry for ourselves, whatever reason, from the night before, but we found a way.”
- Dwane Casey on shaking off a lacklustre first half
“I feel like it’s only going to get better, having them get more comfortable on the defensive end, that’s how we’re winning basketball games. We’re not winning with our offence, we’re not trying to outscore teams, we’re trying to get stops.”
- DeMarre Carroll on the defence improving as Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker continue to get comfortable
“I’m just trying to spearhead the defence. For me I'm just trying to get lost in the game, trying to find my spots, where to be aggressive, where to help, where to talk more. I’m just trying to be there for the guys and be reliable, that reliable voice behind, listening to everybody, listening to see what they’ve got to say, how they’re going to play stuff. For me it’s all about communication and just being there for all the guys.”
- P.J. Tucker on finding his place with his new team
“We were getting some energy. I thought Fred and Delon came in and give us some energy. Delon made a big three that was huge for us for us and that’s what those young kids have to do. They’re young and have no excuse not to be fresh and full of energy and they came in and gave us that. That’s going to be their role. They may sit there for two quarters, three quarters and then come in, but that’s their role and they did it well.”
- Dwane Casey on the play of reserve point guards
The Raptors return to Toronto where they will take on the Washington Wizards on Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre at 7:30 P.M. ET.