With 4:15 remaining in Tuesday night’s contest at the Air Canada Centre as the Toronto Raptors hosted the New York Knicks, Raptors guard Leandro Barbosa drove the lane putting the ball in the cylinder and gave his team a comfortable lead of 86-77. The home team had jumped out in front in the first 12 minutes of action and had held the upper hand from that point on. With time running out it appeared that the magic had finally run out for the Knicks who had a five game winning streak heading into their game against Toronto.
The man who had been responsible for that streak was not ready for the party to end however and once again New York starting point guard Jeremy Lin stepped it up big time as he knocked down 12 points in the fourth quarter; including a game winning trey at the buzzer as his team came back to defeat Toronto 90-87. In just his fifth NBA start the Knicks point guard racked up a double-double including a game high 27 points and scored the last six points of the night in the final 1:05 of action taking his team from being three points down to winning the game by the same margin.
The Raptors controlled the flow of the action for the first three-quarters of the game; but their offense would be stuck in neutral during the final 12 minutes as they could muster just 12 points. The team still shot 50.7% (37-73) for the game as Jose Calderon led five Toronto players in double-digits with 25 points.
The score was close for much of the opening period with the home team leading 14-13 with a little more than five minutes to play. Calderon would bury two deep treys in just over a minute and the Raptors would hold the advantage with the score 22-13 with 4:05 remaining. Barbosa completed a layup at the buzzer and Toronto was on top 28-21 at the conclusion of the quarter.
The home team would dominate the second as they held a double-figure lead for most of the period. Barbosa hit a pair at the line with 2:34 left in the period putting the Raptors ahead 47-30. The Knicks closed out the quarter on a 6-0 run and had cut their deficit to 47-36 as the game reached the half.
Toronto would maintain the lead throughout the third and once again would be out front by double-digits for most of the period. Steve Novak drained a 25 foot trey with 57 seconds left and New York would still trail at the end of the quarter but were back in the contest with the score 75-66.
The Knicks had gotten within four points of their opponents twice early in the fourth but each time Toronto had pulled away. The Raptors looked as if they would hold on for the win when Barbosa drove the lane with 4:15 to go putting his team in control on top 86-77. New York would close out the game on a 13-1 run as with 1:05 to play. Lin hit a shot four feet from the basket and was fouled on the play; after hitting his shot at the line the score was knotted up at 87-87. Lin unleashed a 25 foot trey just before time expired giving his team their sixth straight win.
Lin knocked down 27 points, dished off 11 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 steal in the victory for the Knicks. Amar’e Stoudemire returned to the lineup and scored 21 points, 9 rebounds and 1 assist while Tyson Chandler added 13 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Calderon scored 25 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and had 1 block for the night while Linas Kleiza notched a double-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. DeMar DeRozan had 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block while Barbosa came off the bench with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. Amir Johnson added 10 points for the Raptors in the loss. New York now stands at 14-15 and will host the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday while Toronto now has a record of 9-21 and they will welcome the San Antonio Spurs to town on Wednesday.