Raptors use defense to beat Knicks
TORONTO — The New York Knicks were the gang that couldn’t shoot straight Friday night.
They could barely shoot at all, actually, making only 33 percent of their attempts from the field in a 107-84 loss to the Toronto Raptors, who shot 56.4 percent.
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan each scored 22 points for the Raptors (10-5), who have won three in a row. Lowry added 10 assists and eight rebounds, while DeRozan had seven assists and six rebounds.
The Raptors, of course, were taking bows for their defense.
“I was really impressed with our overall defense,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “We were on point. We had a few breakdowns, but I thought we did a good job. We made some of our 3s and our offense is getting better and that is something we are striving for.”
The Raptors led by as many as 22 points early in the third quarter and carried a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter.
The Knicks crept to within 10 points early in the final quarter, but when C.J. Miles hit a 3-pointer with 5:22 left in the game, the Raptors led 97-78.
DeRozan increased the lead to 21 with a pullup jumper, and a layup by Pascal Siakam had Toronto ahead by 23 with 3:19 left.
“We (missed) shots that we usually make, and I thought we let that affect our defense,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. “We only had (nine) turnovers yet they still had 26 fast-break points, so that’s just missed shots and dipping your head, letting them run past us. They got some easy ones just running.
“They played harder, they cut harder, that’s something on the road that you can’t have happen. You know the home team is going to have more energy and you have to step up to that level. They played better than we did.”
Miles added 14 points, Siakam had 13 and OG Anunoby contributed 11 for Toronto.
“I’m just trying to be aggressive,” DeRozan said. “I understand that when I’m aggressive, I draw so much attention and just trust my teammates, make the right play and just feed off them. Everything else comes easier for me after that.”
Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr, each scored 13 points for the Knicks (8-7) and Enes Kanter added 12.
“I think we let our offense affect us defensively,” Kanter said. “We’re not going to shoot the ball well every night. We have to do a better job defensively. We didn’t play like us. We weren’t communicating out there. ...We have to trust each other.”
Miles was fouled twice while attempting 3-pointers in the final 40 seconds of the first quarter. He made all six free throws and the Raptors led 30-18 after the opening quarter.
Lowry’s 3-pointer with 7:01 left in the half bumped the lead to 19, which was trimmed to 12 after a 7-0 run by the Knicks.
Lowry’s 3-pointer had the lead at 20 with 1:32 to play. The Raptors were ahead 54-36 at the intermission, led by Lowry’s 16 points, six rebounds and four assists. Jarrett Jack led New York with eight first-half points.
“I think we were a little too stagnant offensively early on and we were kind of waiting, ‘now it’s my turn, now it’s my turn.’ We weren’t playing our basketball,” Porzingis said. “It wasn’t that bad, but it was missing a lot of good shots. As the game went on we were still struggling to find our rhythm. It was a rough night for us.”
Jonas Valanciunas scored his first two points of the game early in the third quarter to increase Toronto’s lead to 22.
After the Knicks trimmed the lead to 12, Lowry hit a 3-pointer with 5:22 left in the third.
Toronto led 78-64 after the third quarter
The Knicks cut the lead to 10 points two minutes into the fourth quarter on a hook shot by Michael Beasley.
NOTES: Raptors F Serge Ibaka (swollen left knee), G Norman Powell (right hip pointer) and Delon Wright (dislocated right shoulder) did not play on Friday. Powell has missed three games in a row and Wright and Ibaka were injured Wednesday in the win over the New Orleans Pelicans. ... The Knicks were playing only their fifth road game of the season Friday. They have played 10 games at home. ... The Knicks will play the Los Angeles Clippers Monday at Madison Square Garden. ... The Raptors host the Washington Wizards Sunday at the Air Canada Centre.