Editor's Note: This is a superb effort at a game recap. Rohpuri really stepped in for me, as my NBA League Pass Broadband screwed up and blacked out the game. Thanks to him and all of you who posted on the thread. Since I'm not Seth, I cannot technically move his copy to the front page, but comment on this one or on the fanpost on the right side of the site. Excellent job, Rohpuri.
On a night when Chris Bosh did not play, the Knicks did not capitalize on an early Easter gift. They blew a great opportunity to beat a Raptors team in the midsts of a four game losing streak and without their best player. The game was very competitive between both teams, as the Knicks' biggest lead was only four points, while Toronto's was only nine. This game featured 16 lead changes and 9 ties. Toronto won the game in the following areas. Despite the Knicks outrebounding the Raptors 34-30, Toronto got second and third chance opportunites because they won the offensive rebound margin 11-7; at halftime, Toronto had 5 offensive rebounds while David Lee had 2. The Raptors got their prefered uptempo pace as the game featured a combined 114 points in the paint with Toronto having a 62-52 edge. Additionally, Toronto won transition game outscoring the Knicks 22-18. Lastly, Toronto won this game in the turnover margin. The Knicks committed 14 turnovers, and Tracy McGrady had 6 of them; the Raptors only committed 8 turnovers as a team! As these stats indicate, when you lose the turnover battle, don't get back on missed shots and then play matador defense, you will lose more times than not.
More notes and observations after the jump.
1) The hero of tonight's game was Raptors guard, Sonny Weems who came off the bench and looked like a man amongst boys against the Knicks. He contributed 20 points (9-16) and 9 rebounds in 28 minutes of play. His speed and athleticism allowed him to get easy buckets off baseline drives and putbacks. He drained a few mid ranged jumpers. He also stuck his hands out on defense to force some loose balls. His play tonight inspired fellow P&T'er "KnickWiz" to give us tonight's headline.
2) The Knicks left their three-point shooting at the customs counter, as they were 3-16 (18.8%) from beyond the arc tonight. The Raptors weren't much better from long distance, but did shoot a higher percentage going 4-12 (33.3%) from downtown.
3) Wednesday night's hero Bill Walker was unable put up a third consecutive 20 point performance depsite receiving another start. Tonight Walker's start line read like this: 25 mintues, 8 points (4-6), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 personal fouls, 1 turnover, and 1 blocked shot. Much of this can be attributed to Wilson Chandler's return, see below.
4) Tonight was Wilson Chandler's first game back since his grandfather passed away (RIP). He came off the bench tonight and played 38 minutes, scored 18 points (8-15 fg, 0-1 3pt, 2-2 ft) and registered 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal.
5) Hat's off to David Lee who registered his 40th Double Double of the season with 23 points and 18 rebounds (15 defensive boards). Lee also had 2 blocks.
6) The only Knicks who registered +s in +/- were Tracy McGrady and Al Harrington; further proof that I can't stand this statistic. However, I will concede that when T-Mac was playing there was some kind of purpose to the offense that seemed absent when he was sitting on the bench.
7) Although T-Mac scored 13 points had 6 defensive rebounds, my eyes tell me he had a negative impact on this game for the following reasons. For starters, his assist to turnover ratio was 4-6 (not good). Additionally, despite going 5-11 from the field, he went 0-3 from beyond the arc and was only 3-6 from the freethrow line.Yet he finished the game +3. He did get a second start over Sergio tonight.
8) Al "Bricks" Harrington was alive and well for most of the evening. Hat's off to fellow P&T member "IB" who asstutely observed that after Harrington started the game 4-4 from the field he finished the game 0 for his final 8 shots with 2 airballs. Harrington scored 10 points, 4-16 fgs (2-6 3's) and had 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 personal fouls and 1 turnover. He was +2 tonight. Somehow I was given the Raptors telecast on League Pass Broadband, but I was treated to this nugget; "Harrington has looked selfish on several occassions with poor shot selection." It was priceless.
9) One last remark regarding McGrady and Harrington. I am of the opinion that Harrington should only be on the floor when McGrady is on the floor as he is less likely to force up a "prayer" from behind the arc. However, when he's on the floor by himself he behaves like an elementary school kid who gets to act out when there's a substitute teacher; in this instance Al probably says to himself "I'm going to do what Al Harrington do."
10) As I pointed out in the game thread, Gallo looked and played like a$$ in the 38 minutes he played. The boxscore will show that he scored 13 points (5-12, 1-3 3pt, 2-2ft) the rest of his line was 1 rebound, 2 personal fouls, and 1 steal. At times he looked out of position on defense, as he was late to close out on shot attempts. He also opened the game going 0-6 from the field. Early in the game the Knicks were making their hay driving inside yet when Gallo got the ball he felt the need to hoist up 3 which were no where close to being on the line. He also blew several opportunities to make a 2 foot bucket, Charles Smith would have been proud. His first bucket came off an "off-balance" fallaway from 5 away; it wasn't pretty.
11) Sergio only played 17 minutes and change tonight, but made the most of his opportunites. He scored 10 points (4-5, 2-2 fts), had 7 assists and 3 rebounds.
12) No comment on Eddie House as he had no impact on this game despite playing nearly 18 minutes; additionally, DWTDD, Jonathan Bender, and Chris Duhon kept the bench warm for Coach Mike D'Antoni's 8 man rotation.
13) When the Raptors were in their half-court offense they repeatedly broke down the Knicks defense with dribble penetration from Jose Calderon, Jarret Jack, and Hedo Turkoglu. The three of them combined for 12 of the Raptors 18 assists. Calderon had 6, Jack had 2, and Hedo had 4. Trust me when I say this, if the NBA kept track of assists like the NHL does, the Raptors would have had close to 40 assists. Fortunately for the Knicks, the NBA does not, thus the box score says the Knicks win the assist margin 20-18.
14) On a related noted to the previous point, here is further proof of how well Toronto's offense played tonight. Toronto's point guard duo of Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon combined for 30 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds and 4 turnovers. They outshined T-Mac and Sergio's 23 points, 11 assits, 9 rebounds, and 7 turnovers.
15) Although the Knicks went 15 of 19 (78.9%) from the charitystripe, compared to Toronto's 6-11 (54.5%), the Knicks still lost.
16) The Raptors announcers felt the need to comment on our how Donnie Walsh and MDA are running things. They wanted everyone listening to know the following: Steve Nash buttered MDA's bread; the Knicks are doing themselves because they didn't keep their "building block players"; they don't think the Knicks will be able to attract any free agents this summer; that MDA should be placed on the hot seat if the Knicks don't make the playoffs next season. Great, thank you for your opinions, none of the Knicks brass nor their fans care what you think. Additonally, they felt the need to let everyone know the Knicks last post-season win was against the Raptors in 2001, who incidentally also beat the Knicks in 5 games. Thank you TSN for reminding me of this.
17) The loss places the Knicks at 21-40; 15-26 inside the conference; 3-7 within the Atlantic Division; and 8-20 on the road.
18) In their last 10 games the Knicks are 2-8. Since the trade deadline the Knicks have gone 2-7, if you were keeping score at home.
19) The Knicks next game is tomorrow night against the lowly New Jersey Nets who are currently 6-55. I smell a barn burner.
20) Tonight's win for the Raptors was their third against the Knicks this season; the win also moved them to 22-9 at the Air Canada Centre. They are currently the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 32-28. If you're a Raptors fan who happens to be reading this and live in the Greater Toronto Area, you can start ordering your playoff tickets.
Well, that's all I have for you guys. I have a Wills and Trusts midterm tomorrow that I need to "cram" for. 40 Multiple choice questions, should be fun. Wish me luck.