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Dominant third quarter lifts Toronto Raptors to 116-101 win over Knicks

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Jan 16th, 2017

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Late in the third quarter Sunday afternoon, Kyle Lowry threw his arms in the air gesturing the Air Canada Centre crowd to stand up cheer.

The fans needed little prodding.

DeMar DeRozan had just scored on a driving dunk as part of a thoroughly dominant third-quarter performance by the Toronto Raptors, en route to a 116-101 victory over a horrible New York Knicks team.

DeRozan finished with 23 points, while Lowry had 16 to go with nine assists, in just 28 minutes of action apiece from the two all-stars. Jonas Valanciunas recorded his 15th double-double of the season with 12 points and 16 rebounds for the Raptors (27-13), who are 8-0 against Atlantic Division opponents.

Norman Powell contributed 21 points, while DeMarre Carroll had 20, and Terrence Ross chipped in 12.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points to top the Knicks (18-23), while Derrick Rose, who landed in hot water earlier in the week after missing a game without notice to return to Chicago for a family emergency, added 16.

The Raptors were coming off a 132-113 thumping of Brooklyn on Friday that set a franchise-high for points in a non-overtime game, and saw them score 42 points in the fourth quarter.

No late-game heroics were needed Sunday. The Raptors broke the game open with a 25-2 run to start the third quarter against a Knicks team that all but disappeared on the defensive end.

Toronto would lead by as many as 38 points twice in the third quarter, and took a 96-62 advantage into a fourth quarter that saw coach Dwane Casey sit all of his starters.
The Knicks would pull to within 13 points with just a minute to play, but the game was all but over.

With their 27th victory coming one game before the midway point of the NBA season, the Raptors are guaranteed of at least tying their best first half in franchise history. They won a franchise-best 27 games at the midway point of the 2014-15 season, and had 26 wins at the midway point last season en route to their franchise-best 49-win regular season.

Toronto’s Patrick Patterson sat out the game with a strained left knee, while the Knicks were without Kristaps Porzingis (sore Achilles).

The Knicks put up a decent fight through a first quarter that saw the Raptors hold a brief eight-point lead. Toronto took a 27-26 advantage into the second.

The Raptors opened the second quarter with a 12-2 run, to open an 11-point lead on their visitors. A DeRozan finger roll had Toronto up by 16 points with 3:11 left to play, and the Raptors took a 69-54 lead into the halftime break.

The Raptors play their next three on the road, opening Tuesday in Brooklyn. They play in Philadelphia on Wednesday, then Charlotte on Friday before returning home to host the Phoenix Suns next Sunday.

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