Leonard missing for the Toronto Raptors, but still win 117-92
Pascal Siakam scored 31 points as the Raptors routed the New York Knicks for the second time in 11 nights. Winning 117-92 on Thursday to sweep the season series.
Toronto rested Kawhi Leonard. Just as they did in their 128-92 victory at home on March 18, and the result was nearly as lopsided. The Raptors led by as many as 31 points. And never trailed. They were up by at least 15 for the entire second half.
Green added 15 points on five 3-pointers for the Raptors. Who were also without OG Anunoby because of lingering concussion symptoms after he took a hit to the head in their victory over Chicago on Tuesday.
Rookie Mitchell Robinson had a season-high of 19 points and 21 rebounds for the Knicks. Who lost their fifth straight and fell to 1-13 over the last month.
Toronto beat New York for the sixth straight time during the midst of a soft spot in its schedule. The Raptors face the Bulls again on Saturday. Their first time ever playing three straight games against teams with 50 losses.
The Raptors had 32 assists on their 40 field goals and limited the Knicks to 36.5 per cent shooting.
“Well, I mean you want to come into these things and play solidly defensively first of all and share the basketball. I thought we shared it like crazy,” coach Nick Nurse said.
The Knicks started 4 for 17 and fell behind 22-10. And the game never really got much closer. Toronto led 55-36 at halftime after making 12 3-pointers while the Knicks went 1 for 13.
When New York took a timeout down 63-40 with 9 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, the Raptors had nearly as many 3-pointers (14) as the Knicks had total baskets (15).
“We can’t let missing shots affect our defence and that’s what happened tonight,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said.
Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. returned after a six-game absence with a sore lower back. He came off the bench and scored seven points. Kevin Knox started. But Frank Ntilikina remained out after both were hurt Sunday against the Clippers.
Nurse said Anunoby’s absence was a little surprising. As he felt good after the game on Tuesday and did quite a lot of work early on Thursday before his symptoms came back.
Kyle Lowry was called for an offensive foul in the first half. When he hit Robinson in the midsection while setting a screen. Robinson fell into Lowry’s legs while chasing a loose ball in the last matchup. A play Lowry felt was dirty that caused him to miss two games with a right ankle injury.
The Raptors are locked into the No. 2 seed in the East and Nurse said they feel ready to start the playoffs now. But he said they will make the most of the time they have until they do start on April 13.
“I know everybody’s like, ‘We’ve got to play all these games, let’s go.’ Well, these games are on the schedule and they’re very important for a lot of teams right now. We just don’t happen to be one of them,” Nurse said. “We’re not moving any direction probably within where we are. But it is a chance for us to do some polishing and stay positive.”
Remembering Cal Ramsey
The Knicks showed a video tribute and had a moment of silence before the game for Cal Ramsey. Who died Monday aged 81. Ramsey starred at NYU in the 1950s and went on to play and broadcast for the Knicks and worked as a team ambassador for the last 28 years. A jersey with his name and flowers were placed on the seat behind the bench where he sat at games. Also, the Knicks wore a black patch on their uniform in his honour.