Pascal Siakam scored 31 points and the Toronto Raptors routed the New York Knicks for the second time in 11 nights, winning 117-92 on Thursday night to sweep the season series.
Toronto rested Kawhi Leonard, just as it did in its 128-92 victory at home on March 18, and the result was nearly as lopsided. The Raptors led by as many as 31 points, never trailed and were up by at least 15 for the entire second half.
Danny Green added 15 points on five 3-pointers for the Raptors, who also were without OG Anunoby because of lingering concussion-like symptoms after he took a hit to the head in their victory over Chicago on Tuesday.
Rookie Mitchell Robinson had season highs of 19 points and 21 rebounds for the Knicks, who lost their fifth straight and fell to 1-13 over the last month.
Toronto beat New York for the sixth straight time during the midst of a soft spot in its schedule. The Raptors face the Bulls again on Saturday, their first time ever playing three straight games against teams with 50 losses, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Knicks started 4 for 17 and fell behind 22-10, and the game never really got much closer. It was 30-18 after one, grew to 55-33 when Siakam made a 3-pointer with 31 seconds left in the half, and Toronto led 55-36 at the break after making 12 3-pointers while the Knicks went 1 for 13.
When New York took a timeout down 63-40 with 9 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, the Raptors had nearly as many 3-pointers (14) as the Knicks had total baskets (15).
Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. returned after a six-game absence with a sore lower back, coming off the bench and scoring seven points.
Kevin Knox started after leaving Sunday’s loss to the Clippers with an ankle injury and had nine points on 3-of-10 shooting, but Frank Ntilikina remained out after reinjuring his groin in that game.
The Raptors are likely locked into the No. 2 seed in the East and Nurse said they feel ready to start the playoffs now. But he said they will make the most of the time they have until they do start on April 13.
“I know everybody’s like, ‘We’ve got to play all these games, let’s go.’ Well, these games are on the schedule and they’re very important for a lot of teams right now, we just don’t happen to be one of them,” Nurse said. “We’re not moving any direction probably within where we are, but it is a chance for us to do some polishing and stay positive.”
The Knicks showed a video tribute and had a moment of silence before the game for Cal Ramsey, who died Monday at 81. Ramsey starred at NYU in the 1950s and went on to play and broadcast for the Knicks and worked as a team ambassador for the last 28 years. A jersey with his name and flowers were placed on the seat behind the bench where he sat at games, and the Knicks wore a black patch on their uniform in his honour.