Raptors-Knicks Preview

The New York Knicks finally put an end to their longest losing streak in nearly nine years.

Given their injury concerns and difficult upcoming schedule, another skid wouldn't be too surprising.

New York figures to struggle in its bid for a second straight win Sunday night as it hosts the Toronto Raptors.

The Knicks (5-20) won 101-95 at Boston on Friday to snap a 10-game losing streak - its first since 2005-06 - during which it averaged 91.4 points.

"It's always hard when you're climbing uphill, then you get that one game like (Friday's). It's kind of like relief," said Carmelo Anthony, who has averaged 31.8 points in his last four meetings with Toronto. "It gives you a chance to feel what winning a basketball game is like."

Anthony likely still isn't at 100 percent after sitting out Wednesday's loss at San Antonio because of a sore left knee. New York also lost Iman Shumpert in the second quarter Friday due to a dislocated left shoulder. He's set to be re-evaluated in three weeks, though he won't need surgery.

J.R. Smith, the Knicks' third-leading scorer at 10.3 points per game, didn't play due to a sore left heel. An MRI showed a small partial tear of the plantar fascia and he is questionable for Sunday's game.

"It was really sore. He tried it, I think, a day and a half ago," coach Derek Fisher said after Friday's win. "It was too sore and still too sore now."

The Knicks had lost the three previous games in which Smith didn't play.

Aside from a 95-90 win at Cleveland on Oct. 30, New York's other victories have come against Boston, Philadelphia, Denver and Charlotte - teams that are more than 30 combined games under .500.

The Knicks' upcoming schedule doesn't appear to be favorable, with eight of their next nine against teams that are .500 or better - including seven against opponents that are at least six games above the break-even mark. New York plays the Raptors again in Toronto on Dec. 21.

The Raptors (17-6) have split eight games since a six-game winning streak and haven't been nearly as consistent defensively. They're allowing 107.4 points per game over their last eight after limiting teams to an average of 96.4 during their NBA best-tying 13-2 start.

Toronto has been able to handle inferior opponents such as New York, however, going 11-2 against teams below .500.

DeMar DeRozan has been sidelined for the last seven games with a torn left abductor. Kyle Lowry averaged 29.3 points on 44.9 percent shooting in the first four of those, but has been limited 12.7 points per game while shooting 31.7 percent over the last three. He could be in for a big performance after averaging 26.3 points and shooting 55.6 percent over his last three matchups with the Knicks.

These teams boast two of the league's highest-scoring benches with New York's reserves averaging 40.1 points while Toronto's average 38.7.

Sixth man Lou Williams scored 26 in the Raptors' 106-94 win over Indiana on Friday. Williams is one of the NBA's top-scoring reserves at 14.4 points per game.

"We've got a lot of guys who could start on other teams," Williams said. "We've accepted the roles of being backups and guys coming off the bench, and we take pride in that."

The Knicks and Raptors split four meetings in 2013-14, three of which Anthony missed. Smith averaged 18.8 points in the season series.

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