Knicks 113, Raptors 110

The Knicks fought off the doldrums of facing yet another sub-.500 team to win their sixth consecutive game.

Its 113-110 victory over the Toronto Raptors, however, didn’t come without any drama, as for the second time in as many games, the Knicks [14-9] allowed a bad team to stick around, as the Raptors [8-14] got off to a hot start. Toronto scored 32 first-quarter points and held a four-point lead following a torrid start from Andrea Bargnani, who rapped the Knicks for nine points from all angles on the floor. Bargnani, who finished with a career-high 41 points, had 19 points in the first half and spearheaded a Raptors’ movement that allowed them to go ahead by as many as 13 points midway through the second quarter.

The Raptors couldn’t stave off the Knicks, however, particularly Raymond Felton, as he did everything possible to single-handedly keep New York in the game. Felton, the other star brought over to resurrect the Knicks, netted 20 first-half points, including scoring 11 of the team’s 14 points during a four-minute stretch late in the first half to finally give New York the lead. Felton finished with 28 points, including the eventual game-winning three with 2.7 seconds remaining.

Felton’s heroics followed a Bargnani three from straightaway that tied the game with just under 30 seconds remaining, and nearly sucked the life out of the building. Felton wasn’t alone in the heroics, however, as their franchise player, Amare Stoudemire, struggled for the first time in a month as he shot 3-of-10 from the field in the first half.

Stoudemire, however, came back with a vengeance in the fourth quarter, as he put the team on his back. He finished with 34 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocks on 15-of-27 shooting. Stoudemire, who is second in the NBA with an average of seven points per fourth quarter, had 16 in the final stanza.
The frenzied fourth quarter – and the accompanying arena buzz – was just the reason why the Knicks signed Stoudemire and Felton. They didn’t do it alone but they personally put the team on their backs and led the Knicks to its sixth-straight win. Danilo Gallinari added 20 points, while Wilson Chandler chipped in with 14.

What we saw:

Inside the numbers
— By just looking at the box scores, it’d be difficult to see that for the first time since his arrival, Amar’e Stoudemire struggled from the field. He shot 15-of-27, made some clutch buckets late, but the first 3 1/2 quarters featured missed chippies 5-feet from the basket and nightmarish defense. Besides his early-shooting woes, Stoudemire had a tough time defending former first-overall pick Andrea Bargnani, who scorched the Knicks for a career-high 41 points.

2 Earning his high draft stripes — Bargnani was too much for any Knick defender, as the budding star was vicious from all angles. The versatile 7-footer had a career-high 41 points on 16-of-24 shooting. Bargnani, who is now the franchise player with Chris Bosh’s departure, didn’t disappoint Raps fans with his marksman shooting, attacking the basket and crafty scoring. He also added seven rebounds and six assists.

3 Strawberry Fields — Landry Fields was great on the boards again, as for the third straight game the rookie sensation grabbed 10-plus. Fields, who is the reigning Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month, had 10 rebounds to add to his nine points. His biggest moment came with under four minutes remaining, when he grabbed an offensive rebound and executed a putback to give N.Y. its largest lead of the game of six points.