Knicks explode for 28-0 run, hold on to beat Raptors



The notion that Kristaps Porzingis doesn’t have enough offensive help on the Knicks’ roster was obliterated in a stunning second-half turnaround by his teammates on Wednesday night.


And the starved fans at Madison Square Garden raucously showed their gratitude and elation over the team-wide effort at both ends of the court on the night before Thanksgiving.


Porzingis netted only two free throws during an absurd 41-10 third-quarter eruption by the Knicks, who overcame another double-digit deficit and held on for an energetic 108-100 victory over Toronto on Thursday night at MSG.


Tim Hardaway Jr. pumped in 12 of his career-high 38 points in the third quarter domination, which featured 28 consecutive points by the Knicks at one point and a 32-3 sprint to open the session. Porzingis finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds and Courtney Lee added 15 as the resurgent Knicks (10-7) won for the seventh time already this season after trailing by at least 10 points.


The Raptors (11-6) had dropped a 23-point pounding on Jeff Hornacek’s squad on Friday night in Toronto, but the Knicks have now won nine of their last 11 at the Garden since a tight loss to Detroit in the home opener in October.

Kristaps Porzingis netted only two free throws during an absurd 41-10 third-quarter eruption by the Knicks.

Kristaps Porzingis netted only two free throws during an absurd 41-10 third-quarter eruption by the Knicks.

(Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports)


“I like their team,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said about the Knicks before the game. “I think they have some talented big guys. (Enes) Kanter’s a handful. He’s one of the top offensive rebounders in the league. Good mixture with Jarrett Jack, who’s a veteran. Courtney Lee, he’s a solid NBA scorer. So they’ve got a nice team. They’ve had a lot of home games, and they’re a different team at home. They play with a lot of confidence and a lot of toughness at home, moreso than on the road.”


Casey went on to compare Kanter to another famed offensive rebounder, Dennis Rodman, and he referred to Jack as a “tough guy and a natural leader.”


Still, Porzingis generally must be the focal point for opposing defenses, and Toronto did a nice job on the 7-foot-3 Latvian on Friday, holding him to 13 points on 3-for-13 shooting.


“He’s a tough cover. He’s 7-plus in size and length,” Casey said. “You put a small guy on him he just rises right over the top of him. You put a big on him he uses his speed and quickness to get around him so I think you have to give him different looks. Slowed him a little bit, not a lot….We switched some with him and that gave him a different look so trying to keep him off balance is what we tried to do.”

Tim Hardaway Jr. pumped in 12 of his career-high 38 points in the third quarter domination.

Tim Hardaway Jr. pumped in 12 of his career-high 38 points in the third quarter domination.

(Julie Jacobson/AP)


Porzingis netted 10 in Wednesday’s first half, but the Knicks still trailed by 11 at intermission, despite 19 points (including three three-pointers) from Hardaway through two quarters.


Porzingis essentially served as a decoy and barely added to his scoring total as the other Knick starters came out of halftime sizzling, embarking on a frenetic surge of 28 straight points to seize an 80-62 lead with less than three minutes left in the quarter.


Defensively, the Knicks also hounded the Raptors into an 0-for-13 start from the floor — until CJ Miles finally nailed a three with 2:25 remaining — and eight turnovers overall in the period.


The Knicks carried their biggest lead, 89-69, into the fourth, only to allow the Raptors a 12-0 spurt early in the final quarter to close the lead to six with 6:20 to go.


Porzingis buried the next five points – an and-one conversion and a short baseline jumper — to push the cushion back to 99-88 and Toronto never drew closer than six thereafter. Hardaway’s late dunk gave him 38 points, exceeding his previous career-high by two.

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