3/20/12

Raptors Sluggish At The Mecca

Jose Calderon returns to the Raptors line-up as mentioned in our preview Jose actually did a solid job the last time he matched up with Jeremy Lin. What will become of the improvement we have seen out of Jerryd Bayless is another issue altogether. The Knicks are trying to hang on to a playoff spot and the Raptors despite what anyone trying to spin positivity might say are playing out the string. So a game like tonight offers the Raptors a chance to play spoiler and build on what they have been doing. A loss to Bobcats was not exactly a building moment.

Demar DeRozan with the cut to the lane and score to get this one under way. Demar sometimes steps up to a big stage will see if that was a start to something big for him. After his first bucket both teams had two empty possessions. Tyson Chandler would get a slam and drop a foul on a nice pass from Stoudemire. He missed the free throw though. DeRozan's second shot would fall of the rim but get put back in by Aaron Gray on the glass. It was just 5-4 Knicks with 3 minutes gone by in this one. A steal by Melo and then the return pass from Lin to Melo for the break away lay-up. Calderon would hit a 3 pointer to make it a 10-9 Knicks lead. But more Jose this time hooking up with his buddy Amir, the lead would not last as Knicks got a dunk at the other end. Lead was ping ponging back and forth between the Knicks and Raptors at the mid point of the first quarter. Andrea Bargnani with a drive down the middle of the lane with a slam. Chandler answers with two at the other end and it was 16-15 Knicks. Raptors got called for an offensive foul and were down 3 with 4:04 to play. Carmelo Anthony would double that lead with a 3 in rhythm. Knicks were starting to get on a bit of a role and playing some defense something that was unheard of with Mike D'Antoni in charge. Demar DeRozan was not shy taking shots tonight and he was making his fair share to cut lead to 4. Bayless made a basket but then on the next possession ran over J.R Smith for a charge. Smith got on the offensive glass for a tab back to extend the Knicks lead to 6. Linas Kleiza nailed a buzzer three from very deep it would be reviewed but looked good to me.

The three would stand and that made score after 1 Knicks leading 27-24. After a good play by Kleiza to close the 1st, a bad play near start of 2nd with a bailout foul with little left on shot clock. Ed Davis showing signs of life with a score and a rebound leading to Bayless bucket to tie the game at 29. Knicks went on a 7-0 run after that and Dwane Casey was forced into calling a time out. Raptors after a Bargs airball out of the time out would get rolling with 5 point push of their own. Knicks would respond and re-establish their advantage and make it even a little more now with a 42-34 lead. Make that a 10 point lead and Andrea Bargnani was getting taking to school on defensive end. Some regression perhaps? Who said that? Jeremy Lin meantime you may have hear of had 6 assists and added a corner three to his stat line to give the Knicks an 11 point lead. Bargnani showing his point guard skills with a nice pass to Amir Johnson for the slam dunk cutting the lead down to 7. But another Lin three...actually make it a 2 and the Knicks would take a 9 point advantage to locker room if they could hold on for 8.5 seconds. Fields would play good D on Calderon and do just that. Knicks take a 53-44 lead to the locker room.

Teams were trading buckets earlier and the Raptors interior defense was lacking. Knicks would star to pull away sparked by Lin with a jumper, than a nice Alley Oop play with Fields and it was 61-50. Then for some reason Aaron Gray blew a gasket and got tossed from the game after the techs and all the Knicks lead was up to 15 points. The Raptors were helping restore Linsainty as he helped his team restore a 15 point lead with a deep 3. Raptor had been having a 3rd quarter to forget much like they did in Charlotte but against a better team. But the Knicks did not exactly take advantage and put them away. Raptors had a chance to cut the lead to single digits. That would happen if a banged up Bayless could make a couple free throws after colliding with A'mare which he did. However, on other end A'mare got an easy put back to push lead back to 11 with the score 79-68 for Knicks. The Raptors based on how they played should feel fortunate to be only down two more points from halftime.

Calderon was in for the 4th and Bayless might be done for night will see. Knicks were doing enough to stay on top and not much more than that. If the Raptors could get a little run together they might be able to get in this game. Still the Raptors looked pretty disinterested and both teams seemed frustrated with the refs at times. Bayless is a tough minded guy and was back in there playing along side Calderon for now. Ed Davis had a nice slam and had a quiet 7 points and 7 rebounds. However when Ed does well more often than not it seldom leads to a Raptor win. Novak hitting a open three after the Davis slam was looking to keep that trend continuing with Knicks up 87-76. Barring something spectacular the Knicks would give Spike Lee a win on his birthday up 89-77 with under 6 to go in the 4th. Bayless tried to give it go but would be done for the night with a left hip pointer. Jermey Lin with a break away dunk...Good Night and tip your waitress. The Knicks would get another dunk on a sloppy Raptor turnover and Chuck Swirsky watching in Toronto has got out the salami and cheese on the Raptors chances in this one. This was getting into a major embarrassment fast. Really fast as the Knicks lead was on steroids now up 101-79 and the Knicks would pull the starters with 3:20 to play. How bad was it? We had a Solomon Alabi sighting. Knicks would take this one 106-87.

I got nothing more to say on this one. Actually Happy Birthday Spike Lee. That is all.

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