Knicks blow another late lead in overtime loss to Raptors

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Add it to the painful list.

Right with blowing leads to Bucks, Bulls, Hooks and Thunder.

For the second time in less than a month, the struggling Raptors came to the park and cooled off the hot Knicks, rising from 10 down in the fourth quarter. Even RJ Barrett’s dunk at the end of regulation couldn’t save the Knicks.

They were manhandled for the better part of the extra session, falling to the Raptors, 123-121, at the Garden, as their odd home woes continued. With the loss, the Knicks (25-20) fell under . 500 at home at 11-12 – the only winning team to ever have a home losing record.

Down a six in the last minute of the extra session, they made a frantic climb, and had a chance to win it, but Jalen Bronson’s 3-pointer at the horn hit the back rim. It capped a frustrating setback that saw the Knicks give up 14 offensive rebounds and send the Raptors to the free throw line 41 times.

Scotty Barnes scores during the Raptors' win over the Knicks on January 16.
Scotty Barnes scores during the Raptors’ win over the Knicks on January 16.
Jason Szenes
RJ Barrett dunked late in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime.
RJ Barrett dunked late in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime.
Jason Szenes

Barrett led the Knicks with 32 points, but other Knicks stars, Bronson and Julius Randle, combined to shoot 18-of-49 from the field. Fred VanVleet scored 33 points for the Raptors and Scotty Barnes had 26 points.

Two free throws by Barnes gave the Raptors a one-point lead with 12.1 seconds left in the game, but after a Bronson foul, Barnes was unable to put the game away. He split two at the line and Barrett went coast-to-coast in straight slams, passing Barnes on an uncontested two-handed jam with 0.6 seconds left, forcing overtime.

Julius Randle sinks during the Knicks' loss to the Raptors on January 16.
Julius Randle sinks during the Knicks’ loss to the Raptors on January 16.
Jason Szenes

The Knicks had plenty of chances to put the game away, but they couldn’t shake the Raptors. When they went up seven early in the third quarter, Toronto responded with an 8-1 spurt. Early in the fourth quarter, the Knicks pushed their lead up to a Game 10, but the Raptors grabbed four straight points, forcing a Tom Thibodeau timeout. It was only two after Scotty Barnes’ 3-pointer, and even after Quentin Grimes’ 3-pointer pushed the lead back to five with 3:22 to go, Vanfleet Vanfleet pulled back five in a row to get Toronto.

The first half of the first half looked like the last time the Raptors were in the park, back on December 21 when they snapped the Knicks’ eight-game winning streak. Like that game, the Knicks were struggling to deal with Toronto’s prowess, defensive pressure, and offensive aggressiveness. The Raptors methodically built a 10-point lead by clawing their way to the free throw line, trying 22 within the first 24 minutes.

Jalen Brunson shoots during the Knicks' loss to the Raptors on January 16.
Jalen Brunson shoots during the Knicks’ loss to the Raptors on January 16.
Jason Szenes

But at 5:13 into the second quarter, the Knicks scored 22 of their possible 28 points, turning that 10-point deficit into a six-point lead. After starting 1-for-8 from the field, Barrett scored seven points in a run that included his first 3-pointer after four straight first errors and Bronson followed with six. Most importantly, the Knicks defense got up, limiting Toronto to 1 field goal during that dash and shooting 6-of-17 overall in the period.

Randle was the best on the floor in the half, not only scoring 12 points, but adding seven rebounds and five assists. Twice, he reached the edge for an explosive dive after hitting his leg off the dribble.

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