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Knicks 119, Raptors 106: Scenes from DiVincenzo making another compelling case for starting

52 bench points bury Toronto down the stretch.

New York Knicks v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

There were reasons to worry ahead of tonight’s game at Scotiabank Arena. The New York Knicks (12-7) had beat the Pistons at Madison Square Garden last night, and it was reasonable to expect some fatigue. Julius Randle was listed as questionable with knee inflammation. The Toronto Raptors (9-11) have a mediocre record, but their defense is not to be underestimated.

No need to worry. Tonight, the reserves did much of the heavy lifting, combining for 52 points off the bench. Donte DiVincenzo matched his career-high of seven three-pointers (a mark reached earlier this season), Josh Hart had a blistering third quarter, and five Knicks scored 15 or more points. For all their toughness, Toronto shot 17% from deep tonight and wilted in the second half. Final score, 119-106.

First Quarter

Neither team lit up the scoreboard at the outset. In his Toronto homecoming, RJ Barrett scored New York’s first seven points and provided a lone bright spot while the Knicks missed eight of their initial 12 shots. Meanwhile, the Raptors crept ahead by six points and won the early rebound advantage.

Gradualy chipping away at their deficit, New York tied the game late in the quarter, and took a lead of their own. Julius Randle provided nine points and five rebounds, and Jalen Brunson added eight points. For the Canadians, Scottie Barnes shot a perfect 4-of-4 in the first frame for nine points.

Quentin Grimes scored zero points on zero shots for his first eight minutes. Donte DiVincenzo appeared for one minute and promptly drilled a three. Just saying. Also, O.G. Anunoby scored nothing on 0-of-4 from the floor. Also, just saying.

New York closed the quarter up 34-26.

Second Quarter

After the break, the Raptors tightened their defense and started to climb back. Their momentum was briefly slowed when DiVo swished his second triple. Truly, the longer Donte plays, the harder it is to justify starting Grimes over him. DiVo came to the rescue again when, after the determined dinos has mounted a 17-10 run to come within a point, he canned his third trey.

Down low against the Raptors’ frontcourt, Mitchell Robinson struggled on the glass. His backup, Isaiah Hartenstein provided 11 minutes of admirable relief, but, man, Toronto was tough on the glass. Four of their starters each grabbed 4+ first-half rebounds. The Raptors seized a two-point lead deep in the quarter, and the score swayed back and forth from there. In the dwindling seconds, Barrett scored a three-point, And-1 play, which tied the game at 57 for halftime.

Both New York and Toronto had shot 45% from the field. The Knicks had made six of their 17 three-point attempts (35%), but the Raptors had shot a woeful 3-of-14 from downtown. The Canadian Club had 28 rebounds to New York’s 22 and had the edge in both blocks and fast break points. Jalen Brunson led the Knicks with 14 points; Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam had 15 points apiece.

Your halftime shot chart. Check out how New York spread it out:

Third Quarter

The Knicks leaped out of intermission with a 10-2 stretch, capped by Jalen Brunson’s second four-point play in two nights. Grimes came alive, scored on a fast break for his first two points; soon after that, a foul sent him to the line, where he shot his first free throw attempts since opening night. Quentin dished a nice assist to Robinson on the next play, concluding the best sequence he’d had in a while.

Thanks to poor Raptors shooting, the Knicks pushed their lead to 10. Barnes hit two threes and Precious Achiuwa led Toronto on a 12-5 run, but Josh Hart rose up and scored 15 third-quarter points in response. On their best nights, multiple Knicks will take turns in the spotlight for a total team effort. Tonight it was RJ, then Brunson, then Randle, then DiVincenzo, and then Hart. Outscoring the Raptors 33-20, New York rode a 90-77 lead into the final frame.

Fourth Quarter

DiVincenzo from three! He posted 12 points last night, and matched that total in the first minutes of Q4. Donte would finish with seven threes on nine attempts. While he and Josh Hart scorched the nets, the Raptors made only six of their 32 long range attempts. To their credit, Toronto stayed competitive. Anunoby played handsy defense and helped cut his club’s deficit from 14 points to nine.

Not to be outdone, Immanuel Quickley added a triple of his own and the lead was 15 once again. With half a quarter remaining, their win wasn’t quite assured and Thibs subbed in Randle, who promptly laced a triple of his own. After that, the sailing was smooth, straight to victory island.

Your starters:

  • Jalen Brunson: 22 points, eight assists, five rebounds, one steal, 9-of-21 FG, 3-of-8 3P, 36 minutes. Also, two more offensive charges drawn.
  • Quentin Grimes: four points, two assists, one rebound, 1-of-3 FG, 0-of-2 3P, 21 minutes.
  • R.J. Barrett: 15 points, four rebounds, six assists, 6-of-18 FG, 1-of-6 3P, 27 minutes.
  • Julius Randle: 20 points, 10 boards, nine assists, 8-of-15 FG, 1-of-4, 35 minutes, +15, and all on knee inflammation.
  • Mitchell Robinson: five rebounds, six points, four steals, one block, 32 minutes.

Honorable Mention: Donte DiVincenzo: 21 points, one board, one dime, 7-of-10 FG, 7-of-9 3P, 21 minutes.

Up Next

A few days off, and then an IST Knockout game in Milwaukee on Tuesday. Enjoy your weekend folks and safe travels, Knickerbockers.

Box Score