Knicks turn cold in Tampa as Raptors notch first win

There were no fireworks for the New York Knicks to usher in New Year. Only brick-fest.

The Knicks suddenly went cold in the warmer weather of Tampa, Fla., as the Toronto Raptors finally broke into the win column.

From Knicks to Bricks

The Knicks entered the contest as the best three-point shooting team. They came out with a record of futility in a 100-83 loss to the Raptors.

The Knicks’ starters bricked all their 23 three-point attempts becoming the first starting five with the most misses without a make all-time, per ESPN Stats & Info. The Knicks were 3-for-36 overall from deep and missed 20 three-pointers in a row at one ugly stretch.

Kevin Knox, a former high school star in Tampa, had his best scoring performance this season on his homecoming with 16 points. But it all went for naught.

No Siakam, no problem

The Raptors didn’t miss Pascal Siakam, who was reportedly suspended for disciplinary reasons, with Norman Powell stepping up in his absence. Powell scored seven straight points in the opening quarter and finished with 17 points. The backcourt tandem of Kyle Lowry and Fred Van Vleet combined for 45 points.

The Knicks led by six, 54-48, their biggest in the game, early in the third quarter. But the Raptors closed out with a 23-10 exchange and took a 71-64 lead heading into the final quarter.

Van Vleet, who spurned the Knicks in the free agency, poured in 10 of his 25 points in the final canto to lead the Raptors’ breakaway. The bulky guard also had five rebounds and seven assists.

Randle manhandled 

Julius Randle couldn’t duplicate his triple-double performance as the Raptors threw a constant double team on him. The Knicks’ starting power forward finished with 16 points, his lowest output in five games.

Randle was 0-for-4 from three and went out for good after suffering from cramps with 3:24 left.

Sophomore RJ Barrett’s shooting slump continued with 0-8 clunkfest from deep. The Canadian wingman has missed his last 21 three-point attempts since going 3-for-3 in the season opener.

The usually sharp Reggie Bullock was also a dismal 0-for-9 from the outside.

Rivers’ debut

Austin Rivers finally made his debut as a Knick, finishing with seven points and five assists as Elfrid Payton’s chief backup. Rivers skipped the preseason and missed the Knicks’ first four games due to a pulled groin.

The Knicks were missing guards Immanuel Quickley, Dennis Smith Jr., and Frank Ntilikina for various injuries forcing Thibodeau to play Rivers for an extended time despite only having one practice with the team.

The Raptors started hot, leading by as many as 11 with Powell on a tear. But Knox came off the bench and played aggressively in front of his family in his hometown as the Knicks tied the game at halftime, 42-all.

It went downhill from there.

What’s next?

The Knicks will continue their road trip in Indianapolis on Saturday with a rematch against the Indiana Pacers.

The Knicks hope to bounce back and avenge their 121-107 season-opening loss at the hands of the Pacers.

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