Raptors welcome Knicks north of the border

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors carry a five-game winning streak into a Sunday matinee at Air Canada Centre against their Atlantic Division rivals, the New York Knicks.

The Raptors haven't lost since Dec. 9 and have won four straight as the host.

Their most recent victory came Friday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Toronto prevailed, 110-100, over the Pistons thanks to a strong third quarter performance.

Jonas Valanciunas led the Raptors with 17 points to go along with seven rebounds.

Kyle Lowry and Lou Williams each netted 15 points, and James Johnson added 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench for Toronto, which did not lead at all in the first half.

"I give our bench a lot of credit," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "They came in and did their job."

Terrence Ross' jumper to open the second half gave the Raptors their first lead of the game. Ross hit a floater a minute later and Amir Johnson's layup wrapped up a 12-0 Toronto run that started in the first half.

A 6-0 Raptors burst later in the third gave them their first double-digit lead of the game with 5 1/2 minutes to play in the quarter. That lead would remain in double digits for nearly the rest of the game. Valanciunas scored 11 of his 17 in the period to stake the visitors to a 81-70 lead through three.

The Raptors extended their lead to as much as 22 on a Williams triple at the 6:28 mark, but the Pistons attempted to make the game interesting. With 3 1/2 minutes remaining, Detroit started a 12-1 run to cut its deficit to single digits.

Toronto held on for the victory.

The Knicks have lost four straight and 14 of their last 15. New York is 2-12 on the road, which is the worst mark in the NBA.

On Saturday, the Knicks fell at home to the Phoenix Suns, 99-90.

Carmelo Anthony returned to the Knicks' lineup after missing Thursday's loss in Chicago and netted 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting. He also pulled down 11 boards, but it was not enough.

Jose Calderon added 21 points but netted just two in a fourth quarter that saw the Knicks get outscored by 10. Tim Hardaway, Jr. chipped in 16 and Jason Smith contributed 11 off the bench.

An Alex Len tip-in early in the fourth capped an 11-0 Suns run that gave Phoenix a 75-68 lead. The Knicks answered with six straight points to pull within one but never went back ahead.

"It's going to take winning a game down the stretch to get that confidence back," Anthony said.

The Raptors defeated the Knicks at Madison Square Garden one week ago. The two teams have split their last six meetings north of the border.