Again without Carmelo Anthony, Knicks lose to Raptors, 95-83
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Carmelo Anthony was nowhere to be found Friday night, and neither was the Knicks' offense when it counted.
Playing without Anthony for the second straight game, the Knicks wasted a 12-point third-quarter lead and fell to the Toronto Raptors, 95-83, at the Garden.
The Knicks (9-20) shot 5-for-19 and were outscored 29-12 in the final quarter. They were booed in the closing seconds as they fell to 4-12 at home.
"It felt like we had the game in control for a big part of the game and then kind of let it dwindle away in the fourth quarter," Tyson Chandler said. "It was pretty disheartening.''
A day after Mike Woodson said he expects the Knicks to win the Atlantic Division title despite their bad start, they fell four games behind the division-leading Raptors (12-15).
"In that fourth quarter, we just went sour,'' said Woodson, who blamed fatigue and tired legs for the late-game woes.
The Knicks will complete the home-and-home Saturday night in Toronto but again won't have Anthony because of a sprained left ankle. Anthony, who wasn't on the bench during the game, didn't fly with the team.
Anthony hasn't spoken to the media since after the game in Orlando on Monday in which he suffered the injury. He had said he expected to play on Christmas Day, but he did not, and the Knicks lost by 29 to the Thunder.
After Saturday night, the Knicks don't play until Thursday, so Anthony has time to rest his ankle. J.R. Smith said he was "a little bit" surprised that Anthony hasn't returned. "I don't really know how bad his ankle is, but apparently it's extremely bad," Smith said. "Without him, we've got to find scoring from other areas."
Andrea Bargnani led the Knicks with 18 points and 12 rebounds but scored only four points in the second half against his former team. Smith, who was under the weather, added 17. Beno Udrih and Tim Hardaway Jr. each had 15 points and Udrih added 10 assists and four steals.
DeMar DeRozan scored 25 for Toronto. Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and a career-high 18 rebounds and Kyle Lowry, whom the Knicks have tried to acquire, had 15 points and 11 assists.
The Knicks, who also played without Raymond Felton (groin) and Pablo Prigioni (toe), took a 61-49 lead on Hardaway's three-pointer with 7:17 left in the third quarter, but they were outscored 46-22 after that.
With the Knicks leading 69-61 late in the third quarter, Amar'e Stoudemire and Smith missed four free throws on the same possession. Stoudemire committed a loose-ball foul on Smith's second miss, leading to two made free throws by Tyler Hansbrough.
"Every little inch of the game we need right now," Woodson said. "We got to almost play a perfect game until we get back whole again."
In the fourth quarter, the Knicks compounded their offensive struggles by not being able to keep Valunciunas off the boards. He had seven points and six rebounds in the quarter. After the Knicks got within 83-79, Toronto went on an 8-2 run that featured two three-point plays. One was a dunk by Valunciunas with 2:04 left, and the ensuing free throw made it 91-81.
"I don't think it's just one thing," Bargnani said. "It's many things. Focus, intensity, we didn't have the same energy that we had in the first half. So it's a bunch of different things that affect us in a bad way."