Lowry scores 32 as Raptors beat Knicks 115-100

Kyle Lowry hardly flinched when his name came up in trade talk.

Instead, the Toronto Raptors’ point guard has gone on a tear.

Lowry had a season-best 32 points and matched his season high

with 11 assists, Terrence Ross made a career-high seven 3-pointers

and the Raptors beat New York for the second straight night,

topping the short-handed Knicks 115-100 on Saturday.

Lowry came within two rebounds of a triple-double and Ross had

23 points as Toronto won for the fourth time in five games.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey said Lowry is playing at the highest

level of his career.

”He’s playing with such force and such confidence,” Casey

said. ”He’s been playing the game the right way and he’s been

playing lights out. It’s really good for Kyle and I’m happy for

him.”

Lowry was linked with a potential move to the Knicks in the days

after the Raptors dealt forward Rudy Gay to Sacramento in early

December. That trade never materialized, but Lowry hasn’t let the

speculation affect his performance.

”It is what it is,” Lowry said. ”I’m not really worried about

it. I’ve said it 50 million times and I’m going to say it 50 more:

Until something happens I’m a Raptor and I’m going to play for the

Raptors and I’m going to play hard for the Raptors.”

DeMar DeRozan added 20 points for Toronto, which overcame a

12-point deficit in the second half to beat New York 95-83 at

Madison Square Garden on Friday.

Greivis Vasquez made three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and

Lowry capped the long-range barrage with 5 seconds left as the

Raptors finished with a season-high 15 baskets from beyond the

arc.

”I like 3s, but I like making 3s,” Casey said. ”I think any

coach would. We did a good job at that tonight.”

Jonas Valanciunas had 10 rebounds as the Raptors outrebounded

the Knicks 45-37.

”We’re not going to win consistently until we defend and

rebound the ball,” New York coach Mike Woodson said.

Amare Stoudemire scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half

and Tyson Chandler had 16 for the Knicks, who lost for the fifth

time in seven games. J.R. Smith scored 13 for New York.

”Amare played great tonight,” Woodson said. ”His minutes were

really positive after a back-to-back. He carried us, kept us in

it.”

Making his first regular-season appearance in Toronto after

being traded to the Knicks last summer, Andrea Bargnani was booed

during pregame introductions and jeered every time he touched the

ball. He finished with 12 points.

With four days off before their next game at San Antonio,

Chandler said the Knicks need to make use of the practice time to

tighten things up.

”We’ve got to get back to fundamentals in a lot of things,”

Chandler said. ”Defensively, we’re not as fundamentally sound as

we’d like to be. It’s the same thing with offense.

”It’s the little things right now that are separating us from

wins and losses,” he added.

Health is also a factor for the reeling Knicks. Already missing

guards Raymond Felton (right groin) and Pablo Prigioni (right

foot), New York again played without leading scorer Carmelo

Anthony, who sat out for the third straight game with a sore left

ankle. Also absent was Metta World Peace (left knee), who sat out

for the fourth time in five games.

Woodson said he hoped to have Anthony back when the Knicks make

a three-game swing next week through Texas, where they also play

Houston and Dallas.

”It’s hard to replace 30 points a night but we need to,” Smith

said.

New York almost made a game of it late, but its comeback bid was

halted by a costly foul. Lowry made two free throws to put Toronto

up 100-86 with 5:49 left, but Smith scored five points and

Stoudemire had a driving dunk to cut it to 101-93 with 4:12

remaining, when Casey called a timeout.

Toure Murry of the Knicks was called for a flagrant foul after

sending Lowry sprawling with 3:25 to go. Lowry made both free

throws and then knocked down Toronto’s 14th 3-pointer, putting the

Raptors up 106-95 with 3:13 left.

Woodson called it ”the biggest sequence of the game.”

”I thought (Murry) got pushed off but he ended up grabbing and

tripping the guy and they called a flagrant,” Woodson said.

Lowry scored nine points in the first quarter and DeRozan had

seven, two on a baseline dunk, as the Raptors took a 26-22 lead

after one.

Ross scored 11 points in the second, making three 3-pointers and

throwing down an eye-popping dunk, as the Raptors used an 18-5 run

to extend their lead. Toronto made 10 of 20 field goal attempts in

the second and led 57-44 at halftime.

Ross made three more 3s in the third and Lowry had eight points

as Toronto took an 85-71 advantage into the fourth.

NOTES: Anthony did not travel to Toronto, remaining behind in

New York for treatment. An update on his condition is expected

Monday. The Knicks will likely take Sunday off after playing

back-to-back games against the Raptors. … Lowry also had 11

assists in Friday’s win at New York. … Chandler picked up a

technical foul for arguing a traveling call in the first

quarter.