Shawn Marion and the Toronto Raptors didn’t have to wait very long to avenge an ugly loss at Madison Square Garden.
Marion had 16 points and 15 rebounds for his second double-double in as many games and injected life into Toronto’s fast-break attack as the Raptors beat New York 111-100 on Sunday, two days after absorbing a 30-point loss against the Knicks.
“It’s good the way this team responded to adversity,” all-star forward Chris Bosh said. “It’s all about effort.
“We played good defence, we rebounded the ball well and, for the first time in a very long time, we ran the fast break well.”
Marion’s speed and athleticism helped Toronto score a season-high 29 points on the fast break after entering the game averaging an NBA-worst eight points per game on the run.
The key to any fast-break team is a well-balanced offensive attack and that’s what Toronto got Sunday in front of a capacity crowd of 19,800. Andrea Bargnani had 28 points and 10 rebounds while Anthony Parker added 24 points as all five starters scored in double figures.
Bosh, who was playing in just his second game since returning from a sprained right knee, recorded 11 points and 12 rebounds. Jose Calderon added 13 points with 11 assists as every starter except Parker recorded a double-double.
The last time Toronto had four players accomplish that feat was Feb. 23, 2001, in a triple-overtime game against the Sacramento Kings.
“Guys were out running the lanes and scoring in transition,” Toronto head coach Jay Triano said. “Everybody gets enough touches and it makes it fun to play.
“That’s what we want to do while (Marion) is in the game. Until he learns some of our schemes offensively and defensively, we said, ‘Rebound the basketball, get out and push the ball up the floor and see what’s available.”‘
For Marion, it was another example of how he can excel on a team that allows its players to display some offensive creativity. That’s in contrast to the half-court offence he was accustomed to in Miami before being sent to Toronto on Feb. 13.
“I’m used to going out there and being able to create for other people and just play ball,” said Marion, who finished with five assists. “When you got the handcuffs on you like that sometimes it’s that much harder to get involved.
“Right now, basically we opened up. I’m able to create and push the ball.”
With the Knicks standing between them and the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Raptors knew Sunday was a must-win if they wanted to keep its slim playoff hopes alive.
Al Harrington had 31 points and seven rebounds for New York while slam-dunk champion Nate Robinson added 18 points off the bench.
New York trailed by just four points at the half thanks in part to its three-point efficiency. New York was 9-of-13 from the arc but just 1-of-9 in the second half.
“Our goal (Sunday) was to run them off the three-point line,” said Triano, whose team has now won nine consecutive games at home against the Knicks. “Make them take tough and contested twos and protect the paint.
“That was our goal in New York too but we got it rolling today. We stopped them early and we were able to stop them from getting any momentum.”
NOTES: Raptors point guard Marcus Banks was a late scratch because of spasms in his lower back. . . Larry Hughes and Chris Wilcox made their debut with the Knicks after being acquired in separate deals just prior to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. . .The pair was a non-factor in their first game under coach Mike D’Antoni’s high tempo offence, combining to score just eight points off the bench . . . The Raptors celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Air Canada Centre. Toronto hosted its first basketball game at the ACC on Feb. 21 with a 102-87 victory over the Vancouver Grizzlies.