The Toronto Raptors got a measure of retribution against the New York Knicks on Sunday.
After an embarrassing 30-point loss in Madison Square Garden on Friday, the Raptors responded with one of their best games of the season, beating those same Knicks 111-100 at the Air Canada Centre.
"We came out here with a lot of energy from the start," Toronto newcomer Shawn Marion told CBC afterwards. "We had a hard practice yesterday, a lot of mental preparation, and we just had fun."
It was the first win for the Raptors after acquiring Marion in a trade last week.
"I'm used to going out there and being able to create for other people and just play ball," he said later on. "Right now, basically we opened up. I'm able to create and push the ball."
Toronto gave a complete team effort at both ends of the court to seal the victory. Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, and Marion all had double-doubles on the day.
"It's good the way this team responded to adversity," Bosh said. "It's all about effort. We played good defence, we rebounded the ball well and, for the first time in a very long time, we ran the fast break well."
The Raptors played at a much higher tempo than usual, generating points at will on the break. It seemed to catch the Knicks, who play a fast-break game themselves, off-guard.
"Guys were out running the lanes and scoring in transition," Toronto head coach Jay Triano said. "Everybody gets enough touches and it makes it fun to play."
Toronto's starting five all reached double-digit point totals, led by Bargnani with 28.
On defence, the Raptors held the Knicks to 42.9 per cent shooting from the field, out-rebounded New York 50-43 — and gave up 27 fewer points than they had on Friday.
"Our goal [Sunday] was to run them off the three-point line," Triano said. "Make them take tough and contested twos and protect the paint.
"That was our goal in New York too but we got it rolling today. We stopped them early and we were able to stop them from getting any momentum," he said.
Led by Al Harrington's game-high 31 points, New York did keep it fairly close, but in the end couldn't break through when it counted.
Raps fast out of the gate
Toronto came out flying at the start of the first and second quarters, with runs of 13-2 and 12-0 to open each frame. But New York responded, thanks to stellar three-point shooting and Harrington's hot hand, and Toronto clung to a 57-53 lead at the half.
The Knicks looked their most dangerous in the third, with Harrington heating up and Toronto suddenly getting cold from the floor. New York took a one-point lead with five minutes left, and fans at the ACC started to get nervous.
But Raptor guard Anthony Parker caught fire in the second half of the frame, scoring 12. His 24 points for the day was more than his previous three games combined (23).
The teams traded points in the fourth, and New York couldn't close the gap. Bargnani put the hammer down with 1:42 left, nailing a three to put Toronto up by nine, and the game out of reach for the Knicks.
The Raptors were also celebrating their 10th anniversary at the Air Canada Centre, a venue that hasn't been kind to the team from the Big Apple. The Knicks haven't won a game at the ACC in five years, going 0-9 in that time.