Siakam Scores 52. Knicks Battle Back. Until Final Few Plays. Toronto 113 NY 106

Pascal Siakam could not be stopped — going on a scoring rampage for the first 3 quarters en route to 52 points. But the Knicks finally started to contain him in the 4th quarter and battled back to take a 102-101 lead with 2 minutes left. It came down to the final few plays that went Toronto’s way:

  • a traveling call on Immanuel Quickley,
  • a bunch of offensive rebounds by Toronto on a play that resulted in Siakam free throws to give Toronto the lead, and
  • a big 3 by Toronto’s Fred Van Vleet to give Toronto a 106-102 lead with 1:36 left.

A missed Julius Randle layup in traffic inside with 45 seconds left as the ball slipped out of his hands, and VanVleet free throws clinched it. The missed Randle layup in traffic was an anomaly — until then Randle was having an incredibly efficient evening — 30 points on 13-17 shooting.

Toronto had lost 6 in a row and came in with a desperation to win this game from the start. The Knicks, playing a back-to-back having beaten Golden State the previous night, had their 8-game winning streak stopped.

“It came down to our turnovers and timely rebounds,” said Julius Randle afterwards.

NY is now 18-14; Toronto is 14-18.


1. Siakam Scores 52

Pascal Siakam went off from the start. The athletic, skinny 6’9 forward was scoring on quick drives to the basket, or going to the line after fouls. Nothing the Knicks did could stop him. Finally they did in the 4th quarter to a degree — but Siakam finished with 17-25 shooting (2-6 from 3) and 16-18 in free throws for 52 points.

Siakam scored 38 points in his last game and is now averaging 26.2 ppg. A year ago, he was playing poorly and discontent in Toronto. That seems like a year ago. It is. He’s back to being a superstar with a title ring now.

2. Toronto Played Same Way Knicks Do — Physical

Toronto came out from the start playing the same kind of ball the Knicks have been playing — very physical with Great defense. Toronto looked ‘longer’ than the Knicks — taller, athletic players that were all over NY.

It was no mirage — Toronto is well coach by Nick Nurse — they lead the league in forced turnovers. Fred VanVleet added to Siakam’s scoring. VanVleet is very similar in play to Jalen Brunson — very skilled; hits his mid-range and can kill you with the 3. Immanuel Quickley was recently quoted that VanVleet was one of the surprises to him in the NBA — how skilled he was.

VanVleet scored 28 points on 10-24 shooting (4-10 in 3’s, 4-4 in free throws) — but had a -5.

Toronto’s other scorer was O.G. Anunoby — 15 points on 7-15 shooting. The Knicks kept the other Raptors from hurting them — nobody else on Toronto had more than 4 points! Last year’s rookie of the year Scottie Barnes was 1-10 for 2 points and a -16, for example.

3. Barrett & Randle Led the Knicks

Meanwhile the Knicks had a balanced attack led by RJ Barrett. Barrett hit his first four 3-pointers — and finished 11-19 (4-6 from 3; 4-6 in free throws) for 30 pts, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Barrett was efficient on strong drives to the basket, or hitting floaters in the lane. He is weaning himself off the drives against multiple people where he tosses up a shot hoping to draw a foul — instead passing out of that, and only continuing the shot where it’s a sure thing — finding openings.

Julius Randle also got it going to battle back against Siakam — scoring 30 points on 13-17 shooting. The only mar was Randle going 4-9 from the free throw line — the Knicks could’ve used those missed free throws late. This is coming off a game against Indiana on Sunday where Randle hit 6 straight clutch free throws in the closing minute to win the game.

4. Knicks Came Back Multiple Times

Immanuel Quickley was also on fire — 7-10 shooting (4-6 from 3) for 20 points. Quentin Grimes was out with a sore ankle sprained the previous night against Golden State, so more weight fell on Quickley to perform at the shooting guard position and he answered.

Michell Robinson anchored the defense and added 10 points and 3 blocks.

Barrett, Randle, and Quickley led the Knicks back multiple times during the night. NY was down by 14 points just before the half, and down 10 at intermission, 63-53. But the Knicks came roaring out at the start of the 3rd quarter to take the lead at 72-70.

Toronto and Siakam took back the lead, however, and led 87-80 entering the 4th quarter, and were up by 11 — 96-85 — with 8:29 left. But the Knicks battled back to take that 102-101 lead with 2 minutes left on an RJ Barrett drive and dunk that lit up MSG.

Toronto’s defense thwarted Jalen Brunson throughout the evening — keeping him from driving into the lane as often as he usually does. Brunson had a 3-14 shooting night for 7 points, but adjusted and handed out 12 assists.

5. Rose Got Action with Grimes Out

With Grimes out, Derrick Rose saw action in his stead and played well. He got a huge ovation from the MSG crowd when he entered the game in the 1st quarter.

Miles McBride hit a huge 3 in the 4th in helping the Knicks comeback; Jericho Sims took turns trying to stop Siakam and got some quick fouls.

The Boxscore


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