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NBA -- Knicks clinch playoffs berth with win over Raptors


PhilBoxing.com




JERSEY CITY -- The New York Knicks clinched their third consecutive playoffs berth Friday night following a 99-94 win over the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre.

The 41-26 Knicks, who reached the 40-win plateau at the fastest rate since 2001, got a big effort from All-Star Carmelo Anthony, who torched the hapless 26-43 Raptors for 37 points.

Tonight was definitely Kenyon Martin's best game as a Knick, showing flashes of the ferocious post player he was during his stint with the New Jersey Nets, who had back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003. Martin has played admirably as the starting center in the absence of Tyson Chandler, Kurt Thomas, Rasheed Wallace, and Amar'e Stoudemire.

Once again he was a relentless defender and scored 19 points along with 11 rebounds, both are season highs. He shot 9-10 from the field in an extremely efficient performance. The 6'9" Martin's emergence has been key to the Knicks recent success while the remaining big men heal from injuries.

Martin talked about the Knicks defense, his recent play, and Anthony's return from injury. "I just give a 110% every night, know what I'm sayin. We just tried to make it difficult as possible for them [Raptors] you know what I'm sayin. It was unfortunate that I got this opportunity due to injuries, know what I'm sayin, but I'm blessed to make the most of it. You know what I'm sayin, It's good see him [Anthony] playing well, know what I'm sayin," he told Tina Cervasio of MSG Network. Jason Kidd told Cervasio, "Kenyon is a true professional, same as I knew him from Jersey, he's playing big for us on both ends."

The Raptors suffered their third consecutive loss. Alan Anderson led the Raptors with 35 points, including six 3-pointers. Demar DeRozan contributed 18 points for the Raptors who have now lost 10 of their last 13 games. DeRozan went on a personal scoring spree with seven straight unanswered points, pulling the Raptors to within two points with 6:17 to play in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the Raptors, the Knicks countered and pushed the lead back to 10 points with 2:16 remaining in the game.

Tonight was Knicks center Marcus Camby's 39th birthday. Point guard Jason Kidd turns 40 tomorrow to join Kurt "Mid Life" Thomas as the two 40 year olds on this experienced and veteran loaded Knicks team. The Knicks and Raptors next game is tomorrow night, Saturday at Madison Square Garden for a rematch of this home-and-home series. Toronto may be playing Saturday without Rudy Gay, who was injured in the first quarter tonight and did not return to the game. RS)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Raman Sharma.


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