Knicks look to bounce back against surging Raptors
TORONTO — While the Raptors were bouncing back for an impressive win against the Hornets in Charlotte on Friday, the New York Knicks were literally being bounced in Boston in a loss to the Celtics.
The teams meet Saturday at the Air Canada Centre with the Raptors riding the high of two road wins over tough opponents and the Knicks merely trying to regain their composure after Carmelo Anthony and Brandon Jennings were ejected from the game in Boston.
DeMar DeRozan continued his run of 30-plus point games with 34 against the Hornets, who used an 18-0 run to take a 10-point lead before the Raptors came back for the 113-111 victory.
He has scored 30 or more points in seven of eight games this season.
Anthony had 12 points when he was ejected in the second quarter of the 115-87 loss to the Celtics after he picked up two technical fouls. Jennings was tossed late in the game, also being assessed two technical fouls. The Knicks took six technical on the game overall.
“I was just frustrated, we were getting blown out,” Jennings said. “We were getting blown out. I felt we got punked tonight.”
“I can't comment on that, but on some of those, I can't blame the guys,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. “When (Anthony) gets kicked out early like that, he was playing well, we were hanging in there and climbed back into the game, then KP (Kristaps Porzingis) gets a third foul. It's tough when those two guys are not able to play a full rotation.”
The Knicks, who are 3-5, will have a quick turnaround to figure things out on how to deal with the Raptors who welcomed back center Jonas Valanciunas Friday after he missed two games with a left knee contusion and forward-guard Terrence Ross after he missed a game with a sprained finger.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey would not commit to playing both on back-to-back nights.
Valanciunas scored 12 points and gathered eight rebounds in 21 minutes against the Hornets on Friday and Ross scored eight points in 20 minutes off the bench.
DeRozan is not only scoring a lot of points, he is scoring them when it counts, in crunch time.
“Win, win, just win,” he said after dominating down the stretch Friday. “As long as I know I'm out there trying whatever I need to do to win, I'm fine with that. That's just my mentality. Understanding teammates look to you, coaches look to you, and this is what you work for, to be in that position. I try to make the most out of them every time.”
“I've been watching (DeRozan) for a long time, but it's honestly crazy what he is doing,” Raptors reserve guard Norman Powell said. “We are witnessing history. It's great to watch.”
Powell did not play during the first three quarters on Friday but was used defensively for 10 minutes late in the game when the Raptors tried to find ways to stop Kemba Walker.
“It's great that he's looking down the line when we need stops, or we need somebody to go in there and change the game up and he puts you in there,” Powell said. “I feel like I'm building a little bit of trust in that, just waiting for my opportunities when they come, and just going in there and trying to make an impact when I play.”