Knicks streak to fourth straight under Woodson

Amar'e Stoudemire led the team in both scoring and rebounding against the Raptors.

The Knicks continued their resurgence with a convincing 106-87 win over the struggling Raptors.   

The Knicks (22-24), in much the same manner in which they’ve won their previous three games, used a stifling defense, renewed energy and unselfish play to knock off the Raptors (15-31). Leading the way for New York was Jeremy Lin, as he tallied 18 points and 10 assists, while committing only three turnovers.  

Lin wasn’t alone, as Amar’e Stoudemire experienced a bit of a revival. Stoudemire, who’s battled both physical and emotional stress this season, was as lively and engaged as he’s been at any time this season. He finished with game highs of 22 points and 12 rebounds, including a double-double by the time the fourth quarter began.

“It’s a beautiful feeling. We’re playing great. The feeling is ecstatic and we’re just having fun and enjoying ourselves. We love playing basketball, so we’re trying to cherish every moment,” Stoudemire said, adding Woodson’s schemes also helps. “We’ve been very aggressive. Coach Woodson gives us a strategy to execute and we’re doing that. [On] both ends of the floor, we have great energy.”    

New York’s other star, Carmelo Anthony, also seemed as spry as he’s ever looked all season, as he tallied 17 points, eight rebounds, five assists and even three steals. Anthony didn’t shoot well (5-of-15), but played solid defense on reasonable offensive threats like Linas Kleiza (six points) and James Johnson (eight points).       

Since interim head coach Mike Woodson took over, the Knicks have found a newfound desire to play defense. During their current four-game winning streak, the Knicks have held their opponents to 89 points per game and 39 percent field-goal shooting (31 percent from 3-point range). The Knicks are also averaging 10.7 steals and forcing 20 turnovers per game, with an average margin of victory at 23.7 points. Tuesday night’s performance mirrored their recent successful success.   

Stoudemire said Woodson has emphasized fast and aggressive starts to almost shock the opponent right out of the gate. That’s a far cry from the D’Antoni era when the Knicks often started out slow.   

“That’s something we’ve been talking about the past two weeks — dominating on the boards and setting the tone defensively,” Stoudemire said. “We came out with great intensity on the defensive end and played great on both ends of the court. Our defense is what sparked us, which allowed us to get started offensively.”     

New York broke out to a fast start as they shot 62 percent in first quarter. Anthony had seven points and two steals, while Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler added six points apiece.   

The hot shooting was great, but what allowed them to pull away was suppressing Toronto’s two star players, Andrea Bargnani (15 points) and DeMar DeRozan (17 points). The Knicks made sure the Raptors couldn’t get out on fastbreaks, which Woodson credited to being able to bang the boards and slow down the tempo.     

“That’s been a big problem for us all season, putting bodies on [opponent’s] big bodies and securing the rebound,” said Woodson of a Knicks team that held a 46-30 advantage on the glass. “I stress that every day, before every game, that all five guys have to block out before we go back on offense. And we’ve been doing a better job at that.”

The Raptors fell behind by as many as 16 points midway through the third quarter, but cut the deficit to five midway through the fourth stanza. But the Knicks tightened the screws and upped the lead back to double digits minutes later, on the strength of a 15-3 run, preserving their fourth-straight win.

Woodson said that’s what he expects of this budding team, to knock out opponents when they’re on the proverbial ropes.   

“Make no mistake, it’s the defense that gets us the spurts that we need,” Woodson said. “But that’s what good teams are supposed to do. We just need to ball up and continue to do it.”     

By the time the Knicks emptied their bench, they were up 23 points with just 2:52 remaining and were able to rest their starters — an important spoil for the victors, as they have a pivotal matchup with the Atlantic Division-leading Sixers on Wednesday.

Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Body of 9-year-old boy found atop scaffolding around…

Police found the body of a 9-year-old boy atop scaffolding at his high-rise apartment building in the Bronx late Wednesday.

Local

Winners of the 2014 #NYCPoetweet contest

Every year, Metro partners with the mayor's office to promote Poem in your Pocket Day with a Twitter contest. Here are the winning entries.

Local

Where to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day…

Here are some ways you can get poetic today and for the rest of April, National Poetry Month.

International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

Television

Jodie Foster married girlfriend Alexandra Hedison this weekend

No need to rely on cryptic Golden Globe speeches for your movie star sexual orientation questions anymore: Jodie Foster is married to a lady. Foster…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

MLB

Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda ejected for using pine…

Pineda was thrown out of the game against the Red Sox Wednesday for having pine tar on his neck -- for all the world to see.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

NFL

Giants 2014 regular season schedule

The Giants will play five prime-time games — against the Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Colts and Cowboys.

MLB

Jets 2014 regular season schedule

The Jets will play three prime-time games — against the Bears, Patriots and Dolphins — as well as a CBS national game in Week 2 at Green Bay.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."