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Lance Thomas' clutch play down stretch lifts Knicks over Raptors

New York Knicks center Lance Thomas poses during

New York Knicks center Lance Thomas poses during media day at the Madison Square Garden Training Center on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. Photo Credit: Andrew Theodorakis

TORONTO -- Derek Fisher wasn't as demonstrative or animated as he was the last time the Knicks played, but he did give a little fist pump late in the game.

Fisher, who was thrown out of Sunday's win over the Lakers, stuck with sub Lance Thomas late in the game. And Thomas played a huge role in the Knicks pulling out a 111-109 win over the Raptors Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre.

Thomas, who is not known for his offense, scored a tough basket inside to give the Knicks a five-point lead with 1:31 remaining. It was far from over, but the Knicks, who squandered a 13-point third-quarter lead, escaped with another road victory.

The Knicks are 4-4 and have won three games on the road, all against teams that were in the playoffs last season. They go for their third straight win Wednesday night in Charlotte. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 25 points, but he got plenty of help on this night.

Thomas scored 17 off the bench, including six in the final 1:31. He made all three of his three-point tries (the Knicks were 11-for-23 from long range). Langston Galloway added 15 points and Robin Lopez had 12.

Kristaps Porzingis missed his first six shots. He ended up 3-for-11 with eight points and six rebounds, and had another highlight-reel putback dunk late in the second quarter.

DeMar DeRozan's 29 points paced Toronto (5-3). Kyle Lowry finished with 23 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

With the Knicks up 106-103 in the final minute, Anthony misfired on a jumper. Lopez fouled James Johnson, who made both free throws to make it a one-point game with 25.8 seconds left.

Out of a timeout, the ball was inbounded to Anthony, who passed it to Thomas. Raptors coach Dwane Casey was irate because he believed Anthony stepped out of bounds. Thomas was fouled and made both free throws to give the Knicks a 108-105 edge.

On the ensuing trip, DeRozan was fouled going to the basket. He made the first free throw and missed the second, but the Raptors maintained possession when the ball went out of bounds off Porzingis' fingers.

DeRozan drove with a chance to tie and his layup try rimmed out. Thomas rebounded, was fouled and hit the two free throws with 3.7 seconds to go.

After a Corey Joseph three-pointer with 1.7 seconds left, Galloway was fouled. He made one of two, but Luis Scola hoisted a three that wasn't close.

The score was tied 85-85 at the start of the fourth. With Anthony on the bench, the Knicks' subs opened up a 98-93 lead with 8:08 left. Anthony returned and missed his first shot, didn't get one off before the shot clock expired on the next trip and then committed a shooting foul at the other end.

Anthony hit his first field goal of the fourth on the next possession and it gave the Knicks a 100-97 lead with 5:46 left. It stayed that way until Jose Calderon buried a jumper with 4:05 to go to put the Knicks up five.

The Raptors cut it to 102-101 after two DeRozan foul shots with 2:22 left. On the ensuing trip, Lopez followed up an Anthony miss. And after Lowry couldn't convert on a runner, Thomas scored inside to make it 106-101 with 1:31 left.

The Knicks led 24-17 after one despite Anthony and Porzingis combining to shoot 1-for-8 with four points. Both teams shot 33 percent in the opening quarter, but the difference for the Knicks was their work on the offensive boards. They scored eight second-chance points.

Anthony came to life in the second. He shot 6-for-10 and scored 17 points. All of them came in the final 5:09 of the half and after the Raptors took a 40-37 lead. With Anthony leading the way, the Knicks went into halftime up 60-52.


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