DeRozan Chalks up Another 30-point Game in Raptors’ 118-107 Victory Over Knicks
TORONTO — Chalk up another 30-plus night for DeMar DeRozan, and another victory for the Toronto Raptors.
DeRozan scored 33 points to lift the Raptors to a thrilling 118-107 victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday.
DeRozan has had 30 points in eight of this season’s nine games, and Saturday’s sizzling performance came just a night after he dropped 34 points in a 113-111 victory at Charlotte.
Norm Powell added 19 points, while Kyle Lowry finished with 16, Jonas Valanciunas finished with 13, Terrence Ross had 11, and Patrick Patterson chipped in with 10 for Toronto (7-2).
Carmelo Anthony had 31 points for New York (3-6), while Derrick Rose and Kristaps Porzingis had 21 apiece.
The night was a fierce battle featuring a pair of teams playing the second night of back-to-back games — the Knicks arriving on the heels of a 115-87 loss at Boston.
The lead changed hands 27 times, and neither team led by more than six points until the Raptors pulled away over the final minute as they matched each other virtually basket for basket all night long.
The Raptors took an 87-85 advantage into the fourth quarter, then DeRozan was fouled on a three-point shot from right in front of the Knicks bench. His free throw gave Toronto a 101-97 lead with 5:48 to play.
Rose replied with two consecutive baskets to tie the game, but when Lucas (Bebe) Nogueira took flight for a huge putback dunk with just under three minutes to play, it gave the Raptors a four-point cushion. Bebe came up big with two blocks, then DeRozan iced the win with a three-point play with 27 seconds to play, prompting chants of “M-V-P!”
DeRozan shot 11-for-23 on the night, yet another impressive performance from the all-star who is playing with more “determination” this season, according to coach Dwane Casey.
“He’s playing with more force than he has in a while. Playing with contact, playing through contact. When you look at the baskets he’s making, he’s getting hit, no calls, and he’s finishing the play,” Casey said. “The difference in this year and years past is his overall body strength. He’s a man now. Before we remember a young, skinny athlete. Now he’s bulked his body up. He’s gotten stronger.”
The Air Canada Centre crowd, which included Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman and retired Raptor Muggsy Bogues, was awash in blue as the Raptors celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Toronto Huskies. The blue-clad Raptors played on a court rimmed in blue with the old Huskies logo gracing the centre, and grainy black and white video of Huskies game footage was shown during timeouts.
The Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers in the inaugural game of the Basketball Association of America (now the NBA) in 1946.
The Knicks’ home arena, meanwhile, was at the other end of history Saturday night, as Madison Square Garden hosted UFC in its New York debut.
Neither team led by more than four points in a first quarter highlighted by an emphatic putback dunk by DeRozan. A floating jumper from Rose gave the Knicks a 28-24 lead heading into the second quarter.
Ross drilled a three to spark a 10-0 run to open the second — part of an 11-point performance for Ross in the quarter. But the Raptors couldn’t sustain the lead, and the Knicks took a 56-53 advantage into the halftime break.
DeRozan poured in 13 points in a third quarter that saw neither team lead by more than four.
The Raptors next face last season’s NBA finalists in back to back games. The Raptors visit Cleveland on Tuesday, then return home to host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.