Holly MacKenzie – Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
Patrick Patterson found Kyle Lowry for a 25-foot 3-pointer to put Toronto ahead by 16 with 2:55 remaining. After trailing by 11 in the fist half and then leading by a point to open the fourth, Toronto reeled off a 34-point quarter to collect a 110-97 win for the team’s 50th victory of the season.
DEROZAN HOT TO START
Despite the early start time, DeMar DeRozan was ready to roll from the jump. While the rest of his teammates got off to a slow start, DeRozan scored 15 of Toronto’s 23 points in the opening quarter, shooting 5-for-6 from the floor and 5-for-5 from the free throw line. The rest of the Raptors shot 4-for-13 as the Knicks shot 50 percent from the floor and led Toronto 29-23 after one. DeRozan’s scoring continued in the second as he again led the Raptors with 11 of the team’s 29 points in the quarter. Like the first quarter, DeRozan was lights out, shooting 4-for-5 from the floor and 3-for-4 from the free throw line. The Knicks led by 11 early in the second before the Raptors went on a 16-5 run to tie the game at 41 with 4:56 to go in the half. The Knicks would take a 55-52 lead into the break despite a sensational first half from DeRozan who finished with 26 points on 9-for-11 field goals in 17 minutes. The Knicks were led by Willy Hernangomez’s 20 points on 7-for-8 field goals.
MOVING IN FRONT
After scoring 26 of Toronto’s 52 points in the first half, DeMar DeRozan scored six points in the third quarter as he allowed his teammates to get involved in the action. Toronto shot 47 percent in the third, as Kyle Lowry’s nine points led the way for the Raptors. Toronto’s defence was a step above their first half effort, holding the Knicks to 42 percent in the third after New York shot 48 percent over the first two quarters. The two teams seesawed throughout a third quarter that had six lead changes before a driving layup by DeRozan with 24.8 seconds remaining gave Toronto a one-point lead, 76-75, heading into the final quarter.
It may not be the way the coaching staff would prefer the team to be collecting wins, but Sunday’s comeback victory against the Knicks was Toronto’s 21st victory this season after trailing by 10+ points, giving the Raptors more comeback wins than any other team in the league. After leading by one to open the fourth, the Raptors quickly started scoring from beyond the arc to stretch their lead. After shooting 4-of-20 from the 3-point line in the first three quarters, the Raptors made 6-of-11 attempts from deep in the fourth as they outscored New York 34-22 en route to their 50th victory of the season. Toronto shot 68 percent in the final frame as they opened the fourth on a 22-7 run to stretch their lead to 18 midway through the quarter. They rolled to the win from there.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
DeMar DeRozan had another brilliant performance at Madison Square Garden. After drilling the game-winning shot in Toronto’s last game against the Knicks, DeRozan scored 35 points in 29 minutes on Sunday. He scored 26 points in the first half as he kept the Raptors afloat until they found their groove in the second. DeRozan shot 11-of-15 from the floor and 13-of-15 from the free throw line while also collecting two rebounds.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
THAT’S A RAP…
“We’ve just got to play the best basketball we can play going into the playoffs. We’ve got a couple of days before we play, then we’ve got a game and [then] a couple of days to figure out who we’re playing in the playoffs and get ready. From here on out it’s the real deal.”
– DeMar DeRozan on the week ahead
BY THE #’S
53… Percent shooting for Toronto, 45 percent shooting for New York.
40… Rebounds for the Raptors compared with 36 for the Knicks.
17… Fast break points for Toronto compared with eight for New York.
8… Points, seven rebounds, an assist and a steal for P.J. Tucker in 27 minutes. When Tucker was on the floor, Toronto was a +20 in the game.
THEY SAID IT…
“The togetherness and culture we’ve created, a little bit, there in Toronto, it’s helpful. We have Pascal starting what, 38 games and now he’s starting with the D-League team. We have Serge and Tuck come in and didn’t miss a beat. The togetherness, the culture that we have established we can’t let go of the rope.”
– Dwane Casey on the culture of the organization helping fuel the team to 50 wins
“It shows the organization’s growth. Me, DeMar, JV, have been here now through the whole thing. Pat’s been here for some of it. It just shows the commitment the organization has to winning. The leadership myself and DeMar have put into the organization, it just shows what we were able to build throughout the years.”
– Kyle Lowry on reaching 50 victories for a second consecutive season
“We got one game left to add to that and tighten up on things we need to tighten up on before this weekend and it’s great that we did it.”
– DeMar DeRozan on closing the regular season strong
The Raptors will close out the regular season in Cleveland when they face the Cavaliers on Wednesday at 8 P.M. ET.