The New York Knicks crossed the border to play the Toronto Raptors Friday night at Air Canada Centre. It was a hard-fought game and the Knicks came up short, 100-98.
MSG announcers Mike Breen and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe agreed that it looked like four completely different Knicks teams played the game, one in each quarter.
After giving up 32 points in the first quarter and scoring 32 themselves, the Knicks renewed their defensive effort and allowed just 16 points in the second frame.
The wheels fell off in the third quarter when they were outscored 31-19. In the fourth, the Knicks revived their defensive effort, but it was too little, too late.
Rudy Gay led the Raptors with 32 points, 17 of them coming in the third quarter. Kyle Lowry sank a tough runner in the lane to break a 95-95 tie with 0:28 remaining.
Carmelo Anthony also had 32 points but missed what would have been a game-tying three-pointer with under 10 seconds left. It was a tough look with a hand in his face.
It was a sloppy loss for the Knicks, who made 17 turnovers and committed half a dozen offensive fouls.
Numerous Knicks players were complaining to the refs about non-calls. Though the officials seemed to call the game evenly and allow some contact on both sides, the Raptors went to the line 12 times in the first half to the Knicks' four.
New York came out of the half flat as as a pancake. In the first six-and-a-half minutes of the third quarter, the Knicks scored just five points and committed six turnovers. They made just four field goals in the entire third.
Early in the fourth quarter with two points separating the teams, a rambunctious fan in a Raptors shirt ran onto the court and caused a minor delay while he was restrained. When he entered the playing area, he yelled, "Bucket list!" (h/t Chris Herring, Wall Street Journal)
The Knicks entered Friday at 32-19, five-and-a-half games back from Miami. With their win on Friday, the Indiana Pacers took hold of second place in the East, and the Brooklyn Nets remain within a game of New York.
Toronto was just 22-33, but they have been invigorated by the acquisition of Rudy Gay. Somehow, they're only five games out of the last playoff spot.
Now let's see how the grades shake out.