The New York Knicks overcame an early 17-point deficit to lead in the third quarter. But a lackadaisical start in the fourth quarter led to their fourth straight loss, 125-116, to the Toronto Raptors Sunday at Scotiabank Arena in Canada.
“We fouled, we gave up offensive rebounds, and we turned the ball over,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said of the 11-0 Toronto run that floored them. “That’s usually a recipe to get you beat.”
The Knicks gave up two turnovers — one from RJ Barrett and Evan Fournier each — and seven free throws in that pivotal stretch. Toronto capped the decisive run with a Scottie Barnes and-1 putback off a Barrett foul and a Gary Trent, Jr. dunk in transition off a Barrett bad pass.
For two straight games since Mitchell Robinson went down with a fractured thumb, the Knicks have been outrebounded in the offensive glass. They were an identical -10 in second-chance points in Sunday night’s loss in Toronto and Friday night’s loss in Atlanta.
RJ Barrett had his second 30-point effort in four games. Interestingly, both games were against his hometown team. Julius Randle was a monster — 23 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists — while Jalen Brunson had a steady 21 points and five assists but they were not enough to counter the Raptors’ balanced scoring attack.
Questionable to play before tip-off, Fred VanVleet played through with right rib soreness and dropped 28 points to lead six Raptors in double figures.
Obi Toppin tried to fill the Immanuel Quickley void in the second unit with his best game since his return from a knee injury. Toppin drained 4 of 5 from 3 to finish with 14 points but he only had one rebound in 10 and a half minutes of play.
“There were stretches where we did good things. We’re just not doing enough good things to win,” Thibodeau said.
The Knicks shot more 3s (18-15) and had more assists (30-21) than the Raptors. But their turnovers (16 to Raptors’ 7), offensive rebounding (14 to Raptors’ 17), and the free throw disparity (18-26 to Raptors’ 28-35) were too much to overcome.
It does not get any better than here for the Knicks are they start a tough seven-game stretch against playoff-contending teams against the Cleveland Cavaliers at home on Tuesday.
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