Knicks suffer 1st loss under Woodson

The Knicks lost their first game under interim

The Knicks lost their first game under interim head coach Mike Woodson. (Undated file photo) Photo Credit: AP

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TORONTO -- There were no late-game Jeremy Lin heroics this time, and there was no inspired defensive effort that would lead the Knicks to a sixth straight win since Mike Woodson became their coach.

Instead, Woodson was treated to the kind of effort that was maddening when Mike D'Antoni coached them. The Knicks couldn't shoot, were careless with the ball and were handed a 96-79 drubbing by the Raptors on Friday night.

This wasn't the same Knicks team that won in Philadelphia on Wednesday and proclaimed they could win the Atlantic Division, or the one that beat the Raptors by 19 points Tuesday. These Knicks took a step backward on a night when they had a chance to get back to .500 against a team that was 17 games under.

The Knicks shot 32-for-85 from the field (37.6 percent), including 5-for-28 from three-point range, and committed 22 turnovers to drop to 23-25.

"I just didn't see energy," Woodson said. "We were a step slow from the very beginning. We looked tired. We just didn't have the pop we've had the last five games.''

Woodson talked before the game about the Knicks avoiding slippage and playing with a sense of urgency, but that apparently didn't make it through customs. As a result, the Knicks are just a half-game ahead of the Bucks for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

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"They came out with more energy than we did," Amar'e Stoudemire said. "We can't be the team that's on the back end of that. We got to be the aggressors. We're playing for something. We got to take that mentality into the game."

The Knicks hope to bounce back Saturday night at the Garden against the Pistons, who might want to employ a zone defense. The Raptors (16-32) threw the Knicks out of whack by playing zone almost exclusively.

Toronto stuck with it because the Knicks couldn't hit shots. Steve Novak was 5-for-9 on three-pointers; the rest of the team was 0-for-19 from deep.

Stoudemire scored a Knicks-high 17 points. Carmelo Anthony looked out of sync offensively again, finishing with 12 points on 6-for-15 shooting. He is 26-for-70 and has averaged 11.4 points in the last five games.

"I don't have a rhythm right now," Anthony said. "It will come back shortly. I'm looking for him. So if anybody finds him, tell him.

"I never thought I'd be saying it, but my defense is ahead of my offense right now."

Lin, who hit a game-winning three-pointer in the final second here last month, was very quiet. He had six points, four assists and three turnovers.

DeMar DeRozan had 30 points and Andrea Bargnani 21 for Toronto.

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The Knicks moved within 43-42 with 9:35 left in the third quarter but went ice cold. They missed 12 of their next 14 shots during a 22-4 Raptors run that made it 65-46.

The Knicks started quickly in the fourth quarter, scoring seven unanswered points to get within 70-60 with 9:48 left. But the Raptors ran away after that, reeling off 20 of the next 28 points. In that surge, Gary Forbes threw a pass off the backboard that DeRozan slammed.

"We didn't play tonight," Woodson said. "Bad coaching -- that's what I call it."

Bad effort, too.

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