The New York Knicks arrive in Toronto as one of the hottest teams in the NBA. Surprisingly, it’s their performance on the road that has them rolling.
The Knicks can notch their longest road winning streak since 1994-95 when they face the Raptors on Sunday afternoon.
New York finished 11-30 on the road last season, but has won eight of 12 away from Madison Square Garden in 2010-11, including six consecutive victories.
The Knicks last won seven straight on the road from Dec. 27, 1994-Jan. 22, 1995.
Amare Stoudemire scored 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season as the Knicks (11-9) won 100-92 at New Orleans on Friday night.
“We knew this was going to be a game where we could measure ourselves and see how good we could be,” said Stoudemire, who is averaging 35.3 points while shooting 62.5 percent from the floor over his last three games. “It was a big win for us, definitely a great step in the right direction. We’re really showing how good we can be.”
The Knicks, who have won eight of nine overall, are putting up 106.7 points per game - among the best in the league - and are averaging an even more impressive 108.8 points on the road.
While Stoudemire continues to be the focal point of the offense, his presence has opened up the perimeter for his teammates, who connected on 13 of 30 from 3-point range Friday. The Knicks are shooting 43.2 percent from long distance on their current road streak.
“I try to be a dominant force,” Stoudemire said. “With the energy I try to bring forth on the basketball court, with my communication skills and my leadership role, I try to provide some confidence and swagger to us as a team and it seems to be working well.”
Toronto had taken 11 of 12 from New York on its home court before losing 98-93 on Oct. 27. Stoudemire, who is averaging 23.3 points against the Raptors over his career, scored 19 and registered 10 rebounds.
Stoudemire has won his last 10 games against Toronto - the first nine with Phoenix.
Unlike the Knicks, Toronto (8-11) has been much better at home, where it has won five of six, including an impressive win over Oklahoma City on Friday night.
The Raptors, who had yet to record a home victory when trailing at halftime, went into the break down by seven. After holding the Thunder to 36 percent shooting over the final 24 minutes, though, they won 111-99.
“It was just a very good defensive effort,” Raptors coach Jay Triano said. “They had 40 points in the second half and I thought that was really good for us.”
Bargnani has averaged 19.5 points against the Knicks at home over his career, 5.4 more than his career average.
Toronto has seven players averaging at least 10.0 points, and with a 6-2 record over its last eight games, is optimistic about its recent success.
“We gotta believe,” said Sonny Weems(notes), who is second on the team with 12.7 points. “We’re a pretty good team. Even though we might not have the superstars that everybody else has, we’re a good team.”