A lineup of third-string Knicks played hard, but not consistently enough in the areas of defense and rebouding to defeat the Raptors, who used an overtime third-pointer from Terrence Ross (27 points) to force a second overtime period and win 123-120.
Our starters did their part in limited minutes. While Carmeolo Anthony didn’t shoot well (4-13, 9 points), he looked to distribute and took care of the glass in grabbing 8 rebounds. Andrea Bargnani’s shot wasn’t there either (4-12), but he was active in drawing fouls (5-7 at the line) and finished with 13 points. Tyson Chandler hit a few jumpers and was energetic around the rim in his 19 minutes, finishing with 15 points and 7 free throw attempts.
With Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert resting, heavy minutes went to Tim Hardaway Jr. and Beno Udrih. Junior’s (4-16, 15 points) shot was erratic, but he never shied away from taking them and got some good looks. Udrih had a very solid game outside of some head-scratching turnovers (4). He finished with 19 points, including a big three-pointer to help force the second overtime.
As we’ve seen over the last few games, Ike Diogu (10 points, 7 rebounds) and Toure Murry (12 points, 5 rebounds) came to play hard and continued their cases for making the team.
The big highlight of the game was Metta World Peace and it wasn’t his excellent stat line (16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists). Tyler Hansbrough tried to dirty up the game as usual and Peace was having none of it. Hansbrough looked like he’d seen a ghost and backed down immediately. In past years, Hansbrough has been one of those guys that’s abused our frontcourt players. Glad to see this season we’ll see none of that when Metta goes into Artest mode.
There was a lot left be desired on the perimeter defense with Ross dropping 27 off the bench and Rudy Gay (19 points) and Demar Derozan (21) also taking advantage of our slow rotations. Rebounding, which will likely again be our weakest area this season, proved to be our downfall as Ross was able to get two looks at a three-pointer that forced the second overtime. However, keep in mind the lineups that were out there and the bigger importance in having all of our main guys healthy to start the year.
Only two pre-season games are left with NY facing the Bucks on Wednesday, and the Bobcats on Friday.