Photo Credit: The Canadian Press
Despite rallying back from an 18 point deficit, the Toronto Raptors closed out the weekend with a loss to the New York Knicks by a score of 102-96. Toronto now drops to a 21-33 record and are 1-11 in the second night of back-to-back games this season.
The Raptors had a slow start to the game, scoring only 16 points in the first quarter. In comparison to their game Saturday against Cleveland where they scored 47 points alone in the first quarter, the Raptors only managed to score 42 in the first half against the Knicks. The team fought back in the second half despite a brief rain delay that was caused by a leak in the roof of Madison Square Garden, outscoring the Knicks 34-22 in the third quarter. Unfortunately they came up short in the closing minutes, largely due to a late turnover by Pascal Siakam that secured the win for the Knicks.
The Raptors did their best to limit Julius Randle, holding him to 1-8 from beyond the arc and 7-19 from the field. Despite the Raptors contesting his shots, Randle was able to get to the free throw line and convert all his chances, going 11-11 on the night and finishing with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. In addition, Canadian RJ Barrett had a strong showing against the Raps on both ends, finishing with 19 points on 7-12 shooting from the field, including a clutch three in the final minute to give the Knicks the upper hand over the Raps.
Montreal native Khem Birch made his Raptors debut tonight after being waived by the Orlando Magic and officially signing with Toronto earlier this week. He finished with 4 points and 5 rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench, and is expected to have an increased presence moving forward with the Raps as they push for a playoff spot.
Kyle Lowry returned tonight after missing six games with a right foot injury. He finished with 19 points on 5-10 shooting from the field along with 3 steals. As well, Gary Trent Jr. had another impressive showing and continues to step up offensively for the injured Fred VanVleet (hip) and absent OG Anunoby (rest). He finished with 23 points, 14 of which came in the Raps’ third quarter surge. With VanVleet without a timetable, expect Trent Jr. to continue his impressive play ahead of their homestand this week.
The Raptors are back in Tampa to kick off a five game home stand this Tuesday against the Atlanta Hawks. Make sure to catch the game at 7:30 p.m. EST.