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Raptors rout Knicks, this time at Madison Square Garden

Knicks forward Kevin Knox battles to keep possession

Knicks forward Kevin Knox battles to keep possession against Raptors guard Fred VanVleet during the first half at Madison Square Garden on Thursday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Knicks took another beating Thursday night as the Raptors coasted to a 117-92 win at Madison Square Garden.

It was a repeat of last week’s game in Toronto, with the Knicks falling behind by as many as 31 points. The Raptors again decided to rest Kawhi Leonard rather than waste him on a night they would not need him.

The Knicks fell to an NBA-worst 14-61, but there were a few highlights for the home fans.

Mitchell Robinson threw down a handful of dunks on his way to 19 points and 21 rebounds, both career highs. His rebound total was the highest by a Knicks rookie since Willis Reed in 1965.

Jeremy Lin scored 12 points for the Raptors, bringing back fond memories of Linsanity.

There also was the cold reality that Kevin Knox shot 3-for-10 and wasn’t the worst offensive weapon for the Knicks.

Coach David Fizdale has tried to maintain a positive attitude throughout the relentless barrage of losses, but he said afterward, “It doesn’t have to all be positive. It won’t be positive [Saturday] in the film session.”

Fizdale was asked if he uses the experience of other teams who have gone through hard times as examples for his team.

“All the time,’’ he said. “I use my own experiences, what I’ve gone through and what I’ve seen. A year before I got to Miami as an assistant, [Dwyane] Wade’s shoulder got torn up and they won I think nine or 12, I don’t know what it was, a low number 15]. They took a lot of lumps. We ended up with the No. 2 pick the next year, but we were back in the playoffs the next year with one healthy guy.

“I use Atlanta, we won 13. And understanding that that was just the beginning and four years later we were playing [Miami] in the playoffs, pushing them to a seven-game series.

“So there is a light at the end of the tunnel for these guys. They’ve just got to take their lumps, learn from them, and as we get better and grow and add guys to this team, it’s just going to make them better players.”

Fizdale spoke before Thursday night’s game about the Nets, who are trying to hang on to a playoff berth through an arduous late-season schedule.

‘You’ve got to respect it. They really grinded it out,” Fizdale said. “They started from where we’re at, basically. Over the course of time — what is it, four years that [Nets coach Kenny Atkinson has] been there? — they’ve really instilled who they’re going to be. They’ve built their team through player development, through some drafts, some trades, things like that.

“What they’ve done with their guards from a development standpoint is fantastic. I think [D'Angelo] Russell and [Spencer] Dinwiddie are both improved players under that system. So what it does is it gives me hope that what we’re doing, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

“It’s just a matter of us getting to that place. I can’t tell you exactly when or where, when it’s going to happen for us, but it’s coming soon, and once we get that team here that people have to really be concerned about the way we guard and the way we come at you offensively, that will turn.

"But overall, I still think our fans have been fantastic for us. They’ve rooted for us all year despite the record. These folks have been behind us and I really appreciate that and these young guys appreciate that.’’

Notes & quotes: Pascal Siakam had 31 points and Long Islander Danny Green added 15 for the Raptors. Kadeem Allen had 18 for the Knicks.

New York Sports