Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks: Postgame Grades and Analysis for NYC
Kenyon Martin completed his best game as a Knick, doing much of his damage in the first half. He finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Carmelo Anthony dropped 28 points to go along with eight boards in the blowout win.
Without Tyson Chandler, the Knicks still managed to outrebound the Raps 41-31, and each Knick that played at least 20 minutes recorded a steal.
It was the Knicks' last opportunity to take advantage of a lesser team for a while, as their killer March schedule looms. Matchups with the Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder follow in the immediate future.
It was a great performance by a Knicks team that couldn't afford to lose out on their home floor to the Raps again. They improve to 42-26, and move into a tie with the Indiana Pacers for second place in the Eastern Conference.
Player Grade: B+
Pablo Prigioni received extended minutes for the first time in what seems like an eternity and he certainly made the best of them Saturday.
He played 28 minutes, which is the most he's been on the court since a November matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. He finished with just two shot attempts, but six boards and six assists.
Prigioni cooperated well with Raymond Felton in the backcourt, and even received some minutes with the first unit as Felton rode the pine.
He made a pretty play early in the first half on a drive-and-dish to Carmelo Anthony, putting the Knicks up early. He added a steal and logged an aesthetically pleasing plus-minus of plus-25 in the blowout.
Player Grade: B
Raymond Felton has a new backcourt partner beside him in Prigioni, and the two are bringing back memories of the Felton-Jason Kidd combo from November.
Felton and Prigioni played a productive two-man game against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, and Felton did an excellent job of getting to the rim and finishing strong.
He finished with nine points on 4-of-9 shooting, with five assists and three steals.
Player Grade: B+
It's been a slow recovery, but Iman Shumpert finally resembles the player he was as a rookie.
He provided great defense on DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, coming up with four steals. He was effective on the offensive end as well, shooting 3-of-6 including 2-of-4 from the arc, and finishing with eight points, three rebounds and two dimes.
He suffered yet another scary fall early in the first half, which seems to be a daily occurrence if you'd ask Knicks fans who swallow hard each time it happens. It wasn't serious though, as he rose quickly and proceeded to put on a satisfactory performance
Highlights included two nice finds on the offensive end which led to Martin dunks, and a swipe in the post to jar the ball loose from Jonas Valanciunas, who was uncontested down low.
Player Grade: A-
When things aren't going the Knicks' way, they can always count on Anthony to bail them out. Luckily, Saturday wasn't one of those nights.
Anthony finished with 28 points on 9-of-19 shooting (including a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line) to go along with eight boards. He was noticeably vocal on the defensive end, as he could be heard shouting commands at teammates through the MSG TV feed.
The most awkward moment of the season occurred early in the second half when Raptor and former Knick fan-favorite Landry Fields initiated a bit more contact off the dribble than Anthony liked. After no whistle was blown, 'Melo took out his frustrations on Fields with a blatant shove and was called for a flagrant foul.
Mike Woodson said he would make an effort to limit Anthony's minutes, and had an opportunity to do so as the game was out of Toronto's reach in the fourth quarter. 'Melo finished with a pedestrian 30 minutes.
Player Grade: A
If the basketball world was waiting to throw a welcome back party for Martin, tonight was the night. Saturday was undoubtedly his best performance as a Knick, and his best as an NBA player in several years.
He racked up 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, with seven boards, two blocks and a steal.
The Garden fans were chanting his name after an energizing stretch to end the first half, which included a tip-slam following an Anthony miss, an alley-oop from the hands of Jason Kidd, a block on the defensive end and an and one in the half's closing seconds.
Martin has provided the Knicks with sturdy defense on the low block, and anything on top of that is icing on the cake. Tonight was a whole lot of icing.
K-Mart is playing much more athletically than you'd predict a 35-year-old to, and is energizing the Knicks on both ends. If his body can hold up, Martin will be an integral piece to the Knicks' postseason puzzle.
Player Grade: C
There's good J.R. Smith, and there's bad J.R. Smith. Knicks fans are very acquainted with both men by now, and tonight we saw both.
He shot 9-of-16, and was wildly out of control on offense in the first half. There was a sequence in the first quarter that included three straight possessions ending in Smith turnovers.
It wasn't the bad J.R. that takes too many frustratingly bad three-pointers, it was the bad J.R. that would do whatever he could to get to the basket—even if it meant dribbling through four defenders after a few behind-the-back dribbles and shooting the ball while falling to the court.
But he came alive in the second half and cleaned up that field-goal percentage a bit. Helped by some shoddy Raps defense in the post, Smith was able to get to the rack much more easily as the lead blew to 20-plus.
His 7-of-8 clip from the line was an encouraging sign, especially after going 3-for-7 from the stripe Friday night in Toronto.
Rest of the Bench: B+
Kidd, Chris Copeland and Steve Novak combined for 8-of-14 shooting, which was plenty of offensive reinforcement for the Knicks against the Raps.
Novak knocked down shots along the perimeter and Kidd ran the reserve offense with ease.
Copeland continues to provide no inkling of defense whatsoever, but added 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Not bad considering the embarrassment the rookie had to cope with after being forced to sing Happy Birthday to Kidd in front of the Garden crowd. It was as painful a 30-second stretch as a Harlem Shake video in March 2013.
Overall, the Knicks put away a bad team in Toronto, which is what they're expected to do at this point.