VanVleet scores 28, Raptors hand Knicks 4th straight loss
TORONTO (AP) — Fred VanVleet scored 28 points, Gary Trent Jr. had 24 before fouling out and the Toronto Raptors snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the New York Knicks 125-116 Sunday.
Pascal Siakam scored 24 points, Scottie Barnes had 19 and Precious Achiuwa added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Raptors, who scored 26 points off 17 New York turnovers.
RJ Barrett scored 30 points and Julius Randle had 23 points and 19 rebounds as the Knicks lost their fourth straight.
“There were stretches where we did good things,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We’re just not doing enough good things to win.”
Jalen Brunson scored 21 points and Obi Toppin had 14, but the short-handed Knicks were without guard Immanuel Quickley (left knee) and center Mitchell Robinson, who missed his second game after surgery to repair a fractured right thumb.
“It’s tough,” Randle said of being without the injured pair. “They bring a lot to our team. They do a lot on both ends of the floor for us.”
New York overcame a 17-point deficit to take the lead late in the third quarter. The game was tied to begin the fourth before the Raptors pulled away with an 11-0 run that saw Toronto score seven points at the free throw line.
“We fouled, we gave up offensive rebounds, and we turned the ball over,” Thibodeau said of the decisive stretch. “That’s usually a recipe to get you beat.”
Toronto had lost its previous two games, at Minnesota and home to Boston, despite holding double-digit leads in each. The Raptors failed to score 20 points in the fourth quarter in both of those defeats. They scored 39 in the fourth quarter Sunday.
VanVleet returned after sitting out Saturday’s loss to Boston because of soreness in his right ribs. Toronto was without O.G. Anunoby, who left Saturday’s game in the second half because of a sore right ankle.
The Raptors started 5 for 5 from 3-point range and shot 7 for 11 from distance in the first, while New York went 2 for 9. Toronto led 37-22 after one.
“We just came out with a good focus and intensity,” VanVleet said. “We’ve got to find ways to increase that consistently throughout the game.”
Toppin scored 12 points and shot 4 for 5 from long range as the Knicks closed the gap in the second. The Raptors were up 62-53 at the half.
Brunson’s 3 with 1:26 left in the third capped a 10-1 spurt that put the Knicks up by one, 84-83, giving New York its first lead since Barrett scored the opening two points of the game at the free throw line. The score was tied at 86 heading to the fourth.
Knicks: Randle had eight assists. His season-high is nine. … Jericho Sims scored 10 points. … Robinson is expected to miss three weeks.
Raptors: Achiuwa started his second straight game. He had double-doubles in each. … Trent matched his season-high with six made 3-pointers. … Attendance was 19,261, Toronto’s first non-sellout crowd of the season. Capacity is 19,800. Sunday was the Raptors’ 27th home game.
HEAD TO HEAD
The Raptors won for the third time in four meetings with the Knicks this season. The home team won for the first time in those games.
The Raptors begin a season-high, seven-game trip against Western Conference opponents in Sacramento on Wednesday. After a back-to-back against Golden State and Portland, Toronto visits Phoenix, Utah, Houston and Memphis. The Raptors are 6-15 on the road. Their next home game is Feb 8 against San Antonio.
Knicks: Host Cleveland on Tuesday.
Raptors: Visit Sacramento on Wednesday.
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