TORONTO – Kyle Lowry had 23 points, nine assists and seven rebounds Tuesday, but his solid effort wasn’t enough to lift the Toronto Raptors past the New York Knicks in a 111-109 loss.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks (4-4) with 25 points, while Lance Thomas added 17.
DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 29 points for Toronto (5-3), while Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and nine boards, and Cory Joseph chipped in with 12 points, including a three with 1.5 seconds left.
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Luis Scola added 11 points for a Raptors team missing both DeMarre Carroll (plantar fasciitis) and Terrence Ross (injured thumb).
After the Raptors raced out to a franchise-record five straight wins to start the season, they promptly dropped two games in Florida, including Sunday’s 96-76 rout by the Heat on Sunday in Miami.
They had hoped to turn things around in the friendly confines of the Air Canada Centre. But it was the Knicks who led for most of the night, and were up by 13 points early in the third quarter.
The game went into the fourth tied at 85-85 in front of a sellout crowd of 19,800 fans, but the Knicks held the lead for most of the final frame and were up by five with a minute to play. A last gasp from Toronto saw Valanciunas score on a layup and James Johnson hit two free throws to make it a one-point game with 26 seconds left.
DeRozan missed on a layup with six seconds left that would have tied the game, and Thomas had a pair of free throws for the Knicks that sealed Toronto’s fate.
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The Raptors announced during the game that Ross sustained ligament damage in his thumb during a workout Monday, and there was no timetable for his return.
The Raptors opened with one of their worst quarters of the season, shooting just 6-for-18 to trail 24-17 heading into the second.
After scoring just a point in the first, Lowry had 10 in the first two-and-a-half minutes. But Anthony lit it up with 17 points and the Knicks ended the frame on an 11-2 run to send New York into the halftime break up 60-52.
Former Raptors guard Jose Calderon, who received a warm ovation during introductions, drained a three to put the Knicks up by 13 early in the third. The Raptors rallied to take a five-point lead. Cleanthony Early banked in a three at the buzzer to send the game into the fourth tied.
The Raptors play the Sixers in Philadelphia on Wednesday, and are back home to host New Orleans on Friday.