Knicks beat Raptors, who get No. 3 seed anyway
NEW YORK (AP) The New York Knicks finished their disappointing season with a 95-92 victory Wednesday night over the Toronto Raptors, who blew a 21-point lead but earned the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Toronto will host the Brooklyn Nets, who fell to the No. 6 seed, in its playoff opener Saturday.
Cole Aldrich made the tiebreaking dunk with 1:23 left for the Knicks, who won their final four games to finish 37-45. J.R. Smith scored 30 points, while Aldrich finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds.
Kyle Lowry scored 22 points in 26 minutes for the Raptors, who finished 48-34.
The Knicks charged back to tie at 74 entering the fourth by outscoring the Raptors 30-17 in the third. The game became meaningless during the period when Charlotte finished off an overtime victory over Chicago, meaning the Raptors could do no worse than finish tied with the Bulls. Toronto owned the tiebreaker as a division champion.
The Raptors, a team that wasn't expected to be in the playoffs but instead replaced the Knicks as Atlantic Division champions, will be in the postseason for the first time since 2008.
Toronto won six of its final eight games. The only other loss was last Friday to the Knicks, a night before New York was eliminated from the postseason.
Smith's dunk tied it at 90, and he followed Aldrich's basket with a jumper to make it 94-90 with 21 seconds to go. Tyler Hansbrough scored while being fouled and the Knicks couldn't get the rebound after he missed the free throw. But Toronto eventually threw away an inbounds pass and Smith made one last free throw.
Mike Woodson said before the game he believe he's the right coach for this team, but hasn't had a conversation with new president Phil Jackson yet about his future. That's likely Jackson's first big decision, with another this summer if Anthony goes through with his plan to become a free agent.
Lowry scored 17 in the first quarter, when the Raptors made 11 of 17 shots and led 28-21. Toronto quickly pushed the lead into double figures in the second, opening the period with an 11-2 burst that made it 39-23 on Dwight Buycks' 3-pointer. Toronto went ahead by as much as 21 before taking a 57-44 lead into the break.
Notes: The Knicks announced they had signed Lamar Odom before the game, giving Jackson the offseason to look at a player who thrived playing for him when Jackson coached the Lakers. Odom was a key member of the Lakers' championship teams in 2009 and 2010, and the Sixth Man of the Year in 2011.