After their Christmas Day debacle against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the “floor” for the New York Knicks looked to be quite low, but they challenged that particular mark in an ugly, 95-83 home loss to the Toronto Raptors.
The Knicks were once again playing without their leading scorer (and best player) in Carmelo Anthony, but that excuse only goes so far, as they shot a dismal 38% from the field and 61.9% from the free throw line in scoring only 83 points. In addition, the bottom wholly fell out of the New York offense in the second half, as they put up only 34 points in the final 24 minutes, including just 12 in the final quarter.
Toronto was led by DeMar DeRozan, who scored 25 points on just 13 shot attempts, and young big man Jonas Valanciunas, who put up a huge double-double with 16 points and 18 rebounds. This is incredibly encouraging for the Raps, as they are banking a lot on the production of their two young assets, and it shouldn’t be overlooked that they came through in a big way, even amid the bigger “story” in the visitor’s locker room.
It’s certainly not the ideal day to “evaluate” the now 9-20 Knicks, as they can’t possibly operate at full-strength without Anthony. With that said, however, they can’t afford many more losses if they want to position themselves favorably in the playoff chase (a pipe dream at the moment, but alas), and Mike Woodson is surely on the hottest of hot seats right now.