Raptors beat Knicks in D’Antoni’s preseason debut
TORONTO (AP)—Losing in Mike D’Antoni’s preseason debut isn’t keeping the New York Knicks from enjoying life with their new coach.
“I didn’t know what we would have,” D’Antoni said. “I thought they competed and did a lot of things we were trying to do all week (in training camp). I was pleasantly surprised. If we keep playing like that, we’ll be OK.”
New York finished last in the Atlantic Division last season at 23-59, but the Knicks aren’t looking back.
“Everybody is really positive, really upbeat,” said guard Jamal Crawford, who had 10 points and seven assists. “It’s just a fresh change for everybody. Everybody is tired of what’s happened in the past. Everybody is tired of what’s happened the last three or four years and it’s time to break the mold.”
Zach Randolph, who had 19 points and 13 rebounds, isn’t worried about his place despite D’Antoni’s up-tempo style.
“Like coach said, anybody can play in this system,” Randolph said. “If Shaq can play in this system, anybody can play in this system. It’s about playing basketball and making smart decisions.”
Andrea Bargnani added 15 points, Kris Humphries had 13 and Jermaine O’Neal added eight points and six rebounds for Toronto, which won for the second time in two nights. On Tuesday night, the Raptors beat Cleveland 104-84 on the road.
“I’m still trying to find my way,” O’Neal said. “The biggest challenge for a guy coming in is trying to catch up with the previous four starters, I’m just trying to find my comfort zone but overall it’s very, very exciting.”
Trailing 57-53 at the half, Bosh scored six points in the third to help Toronto take an 80-78 lead into the final quarter.
The Raptors led 103-99 with 4:05 remaining, but Lee capped a five-point spurt with a breakaway dunk to give the Knicks a 104-103 edge with 1:52 to go.
Toronto made five of its 10 3-pointers in the final quarter while the Knicks finished 8-for-34 from beyond the arc, missing their first 12 from long range.
The Knicks played without center Eddy Curry (bacterial infection), forward Danilo Gallinari (sore back), guard Allan Houston (right quadriceps), center Jerome James (left quadriceps) and forward Jared Jeffries (fractured left fibula).