Brunson leads Knicks past Raptors 119-106

TORONTO – Three-pointers were the undoing of the Toronto Raptors against the rival New York Knicks on Friday.

Scottie Barnes led all scorers with 29 points but Toronto still fell 119-106. Barnes was responsible for half of the Raptors’ six three-pointers, while the Knicks drilled 16 from beyond the arc, with guard Donte DiVincenzo coming off the bench for seven threes.

“We got a lot of good shots, they didn’t fall, but we’re going to live with that,” said Barnes. “We shoot every day and we’re going to keep confident in our shot.”

Pascal Siakam had 21 points and eight rebounds but missed all four of his three-point attempts for Toronto (9-11). Barnes also pulled down nine boards.

“We just tried to come out here and play hard, get stops,” said Barnes, noting that Knicks reserves DiVincenzo and Josh Hart combined for 10 three-pointers. “They just had some good bench production that really helped them.”

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Raptors centre Jakob Poeltl had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. He said that when an opponent is dominating from three-point range the solution is to contest every play to tire them out.

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“Even though they’re making high-percentage shots, keep making them tough. Don’t give them any easy ones,” he said. “Get all the 50/50 ball stuff, which we didn’t do enough tonight.”

Jalen Brunson had 22 points and eight assists as New York (12-7) won its third straight. Julius Randle was an assist shy of a triple-double, with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and nine helpers.

RJ Barrett of Mississauga, Ont., had 15 points, six assists and four rebounds for the Knicks.

“Once we got our defence going, I loved the way we played offensively,” said Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau. “I thought we really shared the ball, made plays for each other, and really played well as a team.”

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The game was tied 57-57 at the half, but Brunson scored five points as the Knicks opened up a quick seven-point lead after the break. New York kept that pressure up in the third, with Immanuel Quickley hitting two free throws to close out the quarter, giving the Knicks a 90-77 lead.

Raptors forward OG Anunoby broke out for a two-handed dunk with 7:59 left to play in the game, bringing the sold-out crowd of 19,800 at Scotiabank Arena to their feet. That jam brought Toronto to within nine of the visitors.

After a Knicks timeout, DiVincenzo knocked down his fifth three-pointer of the night to re-establish New York’s double-digit lead. The Knicks never looked back after that, leading by as many as 19 points in the final frame.

“They were able to spread the ball to the wings and continue moving the ball to create good looks,” said Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic. “On the other side, I thought that we were getting good looks as well from the three-point line, but we did not make our shots tonight.”

LAWSUIT RIVALRY — Rajakovic and Thibodeau refused to answer when asked if the game had extra meaning with the Knicks suing the Raptors, Rajakovic, and a handful of other personnel at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. The Knicks filed suit on Aug. 22, alleging the defendants conspired to steal thousands of videos and other scouting secrets in July and August.

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DICK SICK — Rookie forward Gradey Dick was held out of the game with an undisclosed illness. He had 21 points on Friday afternoon as the Raptors 905 beat the Maine Celtics 124-114 in a G-League matinee at Scotiabank Arena. Dick felt sick after the game, leading to him being scratched from the NBA Raptors’ roster for the night game.

UP NEXT — The Raptors have a long break between games, next playing the Miami Heat on Wednesday at Scotiabank Arena.

The game was added to Toronto’s schedule after the Raptors didn’t advance in the NBA’s in-season tournament.

New York travels to Milwaukee to face the Bucks in the tournament’s quarterfinal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2023.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press

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