Sat, March 24, 2012
Sports > Basketball

Raptors hand Woodson first loss as Knicks coach

2012-03-24 06:45:37 GMT2012-03-24 14:45:37(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Jeremy Lin (R) of New York Knicks goes to the basket during the NBA game against Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada, March 23, 2012. Raptors won 96-79.(Xinhua/Zou Zheng)

120324) -- TORONTO, March 24, 2012 (Xinhua) -- Jose Calderon (Front) of Toronto Raptors goes to the basket during the NBA game against New York Knicks at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada, March 23, 2012. Raptors won 96-79. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)

Fans show a board saying "J. LIN MARRY ME" toward Jeremy Lin(R) of New York Knicks during the NBA game between New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada,March 23, 2012. Raptors won 96-79.(Xinhua/Zou Zheng)

Jeremy Lin (R) of New York Knicks goes to the basket during the NBA game against Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada, March 23, 2012. Raptors won 96-79.(Xinhua/Zou Zheng)

Jeremy Lin (R) of New York Knicks drives the ball during the NBA game against Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada, March 23, 2012. Raptors won 96-79.(Xinhua/Zou Zheng)

TORONTO, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Toronto Raptors snapped a three-game losing streak in a 96-79 victory over the New York Knicks in NBA action on Friday night.

The defeat also marks the Knicks' first loss under interim head coach Mike Woodson, who took over for Mike D'Antoni on March 14. Going into the game, the Knicks had won their first five games under Woodson's reign, including a 106-87 victory over the Raptors three days earlier on March 20.

"I just didn't see energy tonight. We bobbled balls and looked tired....we got to play at a much higher level than we did tonight. Tonight we just did not have the pop that we've had the last five games," said Woodson during the postgame press conference.

Raptors head coach Dwane Casey was satisfied with the energy level the team brought forth as forward DeMar DeRozan recorded a season-high 30 points and forward Andrea Bargnani added 21 points and 7 rebounds in the victory.

"After the spanking they put on us down in New York, I was really proud of the way our guys came out. They (New York) really threw some haymakers at us throughout the game. Instead of folding, we really dug in and fought back," said Casey during the postgame press conference.

In front of a sold-out crowd of 19,800 at the Air Canada Centre, Jeremy Lin was unable to replicate his Valentine day performance against the Raptors when he hit a game-winning three-pointer with 0.5 seconds remaining at the height of "Linsanity".

Lin struggled this time, recording just 6 points and 4 assists in 26 minutes. The 6 points matched his lowest point total as a starter, a position that he has held for 24 games, dating back to February 6.

Lin and the Knicks had trouble solving the Raptors' zone defence which was employed for the majority of the match.

"They did a good job defensively, took us out of our rhythm, gave us something we haven't seen in a while, we didn't hit shots and we passed up open shots. It was just a tough night. We came out flat and they came out with a lot more urgency and a lot more energy," said Lin.

The games continue to roll in for the Knicks, as they immediately return home to prepare for tomorrow's game against the Detroit Pistons. Lin believes the key to success will be to break down the mistakes from today's game.

"We're going to have to take a look at the film, the first thing we need to address is coming out with more energy and not being as flat," said Lin.

Coach Woodson does not blame the schedule and hopes his team can play better basketball in front of the Madison Square Garden fans.

"I know this is three in four nights, but this is the league. The schedule is that way, we can't just make excuses. We can't make excuses. we've got to play at a much higher level than tonight. Tomorrow night, we got to bounce back. we're playing at home in front of our fans. We've got to go home and win a game," said Woodson.

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