Raptors 95, Knicks 83

Everett Merrill, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- The Toronto Raptors won the first game of a home-and-home with the New York Knicks, using a fourth-quarter run to secure a 95-83 victory on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
The two teams square off Saturday in Toronto.
Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan led five Toronto players who scored in double figures with 25 points. Center Jonas Valancinuas had 16 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, point guard Kyle Lowry added 15 points and 11 assists, and forward John Salmons and guard Terrence Ross dropped in 11 points each.
The loss dropped New York (9-20) four games behind first-place Toronto (12-15) in the Atlantic Division.
Facing his former team for the first time, Knicks forward Andrea Bargnani had 18 points and 12 rebounds. Bargnani, averaging just 8.3 points in the last three games, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft and spent his first seven years of his career with Toronto before getting traded to New York during the summer.
Bargnani filled the scoring void of forward Carmelo Anthony, who missed his second straight game because of a lingering left ankle injury he suffered Dec. 23 against Orlando.
Anthony is averaging 26.3 points and led the team in scoring in all 27 games before Wednesday when he was on the bench for the Knicks' 123-94 home loss to Oklahoma City.
Guard J.R. Smith started in Anthony's place on Friday night, scoring 17 points.
Toronto trailed 71-66 at the end of three quarters but used a 12-2 burst midway through the fourth quarter to move ahead for good at 81-75 with 6:25 left.
The Knicks led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter, but a 3-pointer from Lowry late in the quarter drew the Raptors to within three points at 69-66.
Smith poured in 11 points in the second quarter to help move the Knicks' lead to 49-40 at the half. New York shot 58 percent from 3-poimt range (7 of 12) in the half.
New York led 25-18 after a sloppily played first quarter. Both teams combined for 15 turnovers and 15 fouls, including two each from center Tyson Chandler, guard Iman Shumpert and guard Beno Udrih.
Bargnani scored 10 points and blocked two shots in the second quarter.
NOTES: The Knicks were without G Raymond Felton (strained right groin) and G Pablo Prigioni (right toe fracture). ... The Knicks entered the game 29th in the league in rebounding, averaging 39 a game. ... PG Kyle Lowry averaged 21.7 points in the Raptors' previous three games. ... The Raptors' next 11 games come against teams in the East, with only three of the matchups coming against teams that are currently above .500 (Pacers twice, and Heat).

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