Written by William Lee
After the Christmas Day beat down the Knicks received at the hands of the Thunder, the Knicks start a home and home against the Raptors Friday night. Toronto has been playing a lot better lately, they are 5-3 since the Rudy Gay trade, with two of the losses coming from the defending Western Conference Champion Spurs. Toronto come into Friday night the Atlantic Division leader, with New York only three games back of the Division crown, which will automatically give the team no less than fourth seed in the playoffs.
The Knicks were again without their leading scorer Carmelo Anthony due to a left sprained ankle. Andrea Bargnani got out to a hot start, scoring ten points in the first quarter against his former team, that made him a No. 1 overall draft pick in 2006. The first quarter was a display of extremely sloppy basketball, with neither team taking care of the basketball. Toronto had seven turnovers, New York was even worse, with eight. Though the Knicks were able to overcome all the turnovers in the first quarter by playing great defense, forcing the Raptors to shoot 35.3% from the field, leading 25-18 after one period.
There was more ugly basketball in the second quarter, with both teams shooting no more than 40% from the field. J.R. Smith was the lone Knick making any shots in the quarter. Smith hit all four attempts, three of which were threes, for a total of 11 point. The Raptors took the lead, after a Terrance Ross three, leading 37-36 with 3:17 remaining in the first half. The Knicks would answer, ending the second quarter on a 13- 3 run, to take a 49-40 lead.