A quick look at New York’s 131-118 win over the Raptors at Madison Square Garden on Monday:
How the game was won: This game was practically over before it started. New York scored the first 13 points, as Carmelo Anthony hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Knicks a 13-0 lead less than four minutes into the game. The Knicks would go on to shoot 11 for 18 for the quarter, and by the time Anthony hit a 21-footer with three seconds left in the half, the Knicks had taken a 78-51 lead. It was the second straight laugher for the Knicks, who had blown out Cleveland at Madison Square Garden on Sunday 123-107.
After losing six straight, the Knicks have now won four in a row, although the four wins have come against the basement of the East (Cleveland, New Jersey and now Toronto), plus a depleted Orlando Magic team. The win streak is the longest streak since the Knicks won eight straight back in December.
Playoff positioning: With the win, the Knicks have pulled within 1/2 a game for sixth place in the Eastern Conference behind Philadelphia. The 76ers lost 99-82 to the Celtics, setting up a pivotal game between the two teams on Wednesday. If the playoffs were to start today, Boston would play the Knicks and the Heat would play the 76ers. Regardless of what happens Wednesday night, the Knicks have a more difficult schedule to close the season, playing at New Jersey, at Indiana before facing the East’s elite against Chicago and at Boston. Meanwhile, the Sixers play at home the rest of the way, hosting Toronto, Orlando and Detroit.
Star gazing: Toney Douglas had come into Monday’s game shooting just 33 percent from the field over his past five games. But Douglas turned in one of his finest and most efficient outings of the season, scoring 28 points while shooting 10 for 15 from the field, including 6 of 9 shooting from downtown. Stoudemire finished with 23 points while Chauncey Billups chipped in 13 points and nine assists. For the Raptors, DeMar DeRozan went off for 36 points on 13-for-27 shooting and also had 10 rebounds. Ed Davis came off the bench and scored 22 points, a season high.
Orange watch: Anthony enjoyed a relatively easy night, playing just 29 minutes while scoring 23 points and grabbing nine rebounds. He tied a low for minutes played in a single game as a Knick (he played 29 against New Orleans on March 2 in a 107-88 win). Anthony had averaged 40 minutes in his past four games.
What’s next: The Knicks will travel to Philadelphia on Wednesday to play the Sixers in a battle for playoff position.