Wednesday, January 20

Raptors in ‘must win’ mode as they take on Knicks

The New York Knicks seek their third straight victory Thursday night when they visit the Toronto Raptors’ winless temporary home in Tampa, Florida.

The Knicks, led by Julius Randle’s triple-double, defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 95-86 Tuesday night and have two wins in four games.

The Raptors have lost their first three games after falling to the Philadelphia 76ers 100-93 on Tuesday despite leading by 14 points in the second half. Toronto hasn’t started a season that bad since an 0-9 start in 2005-06.

The Raptors have won eight straight games against the Knicks.

Randle had 28 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists when the Knicks gave the Cavaliers their first loss in four games. It was the seventh triple-double of his career, his first with the Knicks.

Randle lost some weight to prepare for his second season with the Knicks, who began a four-game road trip Tuesday.

” They challenged me going into the offseason to come back as a better player,” Randle said. ” I am going to put that pressure on myself to challenge myself and improve every year. Last year was a great learning experience for me. But this year I am coming back as a better player and I have come back in great shape. And that’s just part of it. the culture we are building. We are competing, and we are not backing down from anyone. “

” I saw what kind of shape he was in, so I knew he was very motivated,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. ” I think it’s a huge advantage for him. I also think he has a good understanding of his teammates and their strengths. And he’s playing selflessly.”

Alfred Payton scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter on Tuesday and added seven assists and eight rebounds in his second straight strong outing.

Reggie Bullock hit five 3s – the Knicks shot 56.0 percent (14 of 25) from beyond the arc – and finished with 17 points.

The Knicks continue to deal with injuries. Obi Toppin (calf), Austin Rivers (groin), Immanuel Quickly (hip), Dennis Smith Jr. (quad) and Alec Burks (ankle) were inactive Tuesday.

The Raptors had another bad third quarter Tuesday and weren’t able to make big plays on key points in the fourth.

” We don’t have time to lose,” said Toronto guard Kyle Lowry, who scored 24 points Tuesday and added nine assists and eight rebounds. ” We are 0-3, and we need a very, very, very bad victory, and I feel that we are reaching a point where it is essential to win. We have to do everything possible to win the next game (Thursday).”

Pascal Sikkim, who was ineffective again in the fourth quarter, fouled with about 25 seconds remaining and headed straight for the locker room area. He missed 15 of his 23 shots while scoring 20 points.

” I didn’t see that, I’m sure I’ll find out,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. ” I’ll address him when I get back to the locker room. I’m sure he was frustrated.”

Sikkim committed five of his fouls in the final six minutes.

” He has to get a little stronger at the end of his series,” Nurse said. ” He has to play to make a tough final basket instead of playing for the possible foul.”

–Field level media

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