Originally posted on Knicks Journal  |  Last updated 3/23/13
The Knicks have struggled to achieve consistent winning ways over the years. This season's barrage of ongoing injuries have certainly not made it any easier to do so.But regardless of the circumstances, Mike Woodson and his squad have kept a number of different things in mind as they look to secure their place at the top of the Atlantic Division. Emerging as a division leader becomes much easier if a squad a) protects home court and/or b) continues to defeat the weaker teams in the league they're expected to take down.Though the Knicks had already fallen to the Raptors twice earlier this season, they made sure they wouldn't quite strike out on a called third strike. Still without Tyson Chandler for the few days, New York all the while managed to defeat the Raps in Toronto by a score of 99-94 on Friday evening.The Knicks didn't exactly play their best brand of basketball. The Raptors even went on to outscore the visiting team considerably in the second half. That said, it just simply wasn't enough to overcome a key second quarter by New York. There were a couple of solid contributors that also seemed to pace the Knicks down the stretch as well.In just his second game back after returning from an injury, Carmelo Anthony showed some rust despite scoring 15 first-half points. Even so, he settled down and turned up the intensity to score over 20 points in the second half alone, finishing with a tally of 37.But Knickerbocker killer Alan Anderson was right behind him, helping Toronto stay alive by pouring in a season-high 35 points of his own. New York simply couldn't stop him. The Raptors shot 46% from the field, but the Knicks seemed to play somewhat decent zone and man-to-man defense. Thus, they were able to limit Toronto's spacing, cutting off the passing lanes and playing them rather tightly. The Knicks may not have been able to necessarily slow the Raptors down, but Toronto nevertheless never seemed to develop a flow to their offense from start to finish.With New York facing a variety of injuries, Kenyon Martin emerged as Anthony's running mate for the evening. The newest Knick tallied season-highs of 18 points and 11 boards, playing solid defense and leaping high to convert on a couple of flashy dunks.Coach Woodson played four of his key players (three starters) 36 minutes or more. With the squad already short-handed, it'll be interesting to see how the coach opts to go about things on Saturday evening, when both the Knicks and Raptors meet in the Big Apple for the latter game of their home & home mini-series.Needless to say, a handful of different contributors may need to step up to give some of Friday night's top performers a rest. With Raymond Felton (42) and Jason Kidd (30) both taking on the burden of the minutes at floor general Friday, expect Woodson to instill some more trust in Pablo Prigioni on Saturday. The Argentine started against Toronto and played quite well during his time on the court, but only hit the hardwood for nine and a half minutes.
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