Gay, Raptors edge slumping Knicks

Rudy Gay scored 26 of his season-high 32 points during the second half in his most prolific performance in a Toronto uniform, and the Raptors hung on down the stretch for a 100-98 victory over the sputtering New York Knicks at Air Canada Centre.

DeMar DeRozan chipped in 18 points and Kyle Lowry had 15 along with seven assists for the resurgent Raptors, who are winners in six of their last seven outings and are 7-3 since acquiring Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies on Jan. 30.

Carmelo Anthony matched Gay with a 32-point effort and helped rally the Knicks back from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to grab a two-point lead with six minutes to go, but Lowry hit a clutch jumper with 28 seconds left to snap a 95-95 tie and the Raptors held on.

The defeat was New York's fourth in a row, its longest losing streak since a six-game skid last March that triggered the dismissal of then-head coach Mike D'Antoni.

J.R. Smith and Amar'e Stoudemire finished with 19 and 14 points, respectively, for the Knicks.

Down by three at halftime, Toronto would dominate the third quarter to put the Knicks in a sizeable hole. The Raptors began the frame with a 6-0 run and added an 8-1 burst -- during which Gay accounted for six points -- later on to claim a 66-57 advantage with 4:49 to go in the stanza.

Gay, who racked up 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting for the period, knocked down a triple at the 3:07 mark to stake the Raptors to their largest lead of the night at 73-60.

"We just got aggressive," said Gay. "DeMar got it going and he helped me. We were just playing off each other."

The Knicks trailed 79-68 in the final minute of the third quarter, but charged back via an 11-2 spurt that made it a two-point game with nine minutes to play. A Smith 3-pointer with 6:55 remaining created an 86-86 tie, and the standout sixth man drove the lane and scored 45 seconds later to put New York in front for the first time since the game's initial stages.

Toronto countered with a 7-1 tear capped by Gay's jumper with 3:35 left to play that put the Raptors up by a 93-89 count, but the Knicks scored the next four points and the score remained deadlocked entering the final minute.

Lowry's tough runner over the much-taller Tyson Chandler gave Toronto a 97-95 edge with 28 seconds showing, and Chandler hit just 1-of-2 foul shots on the following possession before Gay's two free throws had the Raptors in front by three with 21 seconds on the clock.

Anthony then missed a three-point try from the top of the key with Lowry in his face, and Gay sealed the outcome by making 1-of-2 from the line in the waning seconds.

"I thought that down the stretch we were awful," said Knicks head coach Mike Woodson. "We were in the penalty for some time, and we were trying to make wide-open threes. That was working earlier in the year, but not tonight. We had chances to go to the basket, but we didn't.

They made shots in the end. We didn't."

The game was tied at 32-32 at the end of a fast-paced first quarter in which both teams shot better than 54 percent, and it remained tight all throughout the second period despite the Raptors going just 6-of-22 from the field for the session.

A Raymond Felton three-pointer 5:32 prior to the intermission put the Knicks ahead and kicked off an 8-2 run that gave New York a 49-44 lead late in the half, and the visitors would take a 51-48 edge into the break behind a 17- point outburst from Anthony.

Game Notes

Gay's previous season high of 29 points came in his second outing as a Raptor, a loss to Miami on Feb. 3 ... Raptors forward Amir Johnson had a 15-game streak with at least one blocked shot come to an end ... The Knicks went just 4-of-13 from the field in being outscored by a 31-19 margin in the third quarter ... Toronto rookie and 2013 NBA Slam Dunk champion Terrence Ross sat out the contest with the stomach flu ... The Raptors have now won three straight meetings in the series, including a 92-88 decision at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 13.