Carmelo Anthony scored 35, but the Toronto Raptors' defense kept the New York Knicks inefficient and earned the win.
The New York Knicks' offense continues to fail to impress consistently, which is the exact opposite of what the Toronto Raptors' defense has done. The Raptors beat the Knicks 90-85 at Madison Square Garden on Monday, with Toronto holding New York to 36 percent shooting from the floor and an offensive rating of 92. New head coach Dwane Casey has the Raps at No. 21 in the league in defense at this early stage; Toronto was No. 30 in each of the past two seasons.
Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan each scored 21 on 7-13 shooting for the Raptors, and Jose Calderon continued to spread the ball with 12 assists. The Spanish point guard is No. 3 in the league in assists per game this season with 9.8.
Amar'e Stoudemire again sat for the Knicks, so the offense relied on Carmelo Anthony, who had 35 points on 13-31 shooting with 11 rebounds, four assists and three turnovers. Toney Douglas took 19 shots to get 22 points.
In other action:
Nuggets 91, Bucks 86: Denver eeked out just enough offense against the still-imposing Milwaukee defense. The Nuggets shot under 40 percent from the field, but earned 27 free throw attempts. Danilo Gallinari led the way with 21 points on 5-12 shooting.
Pistons 89, Magic 78: The Orlando defense let Ben Gordon get loose for 26 points and six assists as Detroit took the home win. Dwight Howard fouled out late, but picked up 19 points, seven rebounds and five steals. The Magic's starting backcourt, Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson, combined to shoot 2-10 from the field.
Pacers 108, Nets 94: Paul George went 8-10 from the field and 5-5 from three-point range for 21 points as Indiana ran over New Jersey on the road. The Nets' rotation beyond Deron Williams (22 points, eight assists) is the saddest thing I have ever seen.
Jazz 94, Hornets 90: New Orleans has dropped three straight, as the Hornets fell to the Jazz despite 27 points and 11 assists from Jarrett Jack on Monday. Al Jefferson scored 22 on 18 FGAs, and Devin Harris added 19. Both teams are 2-3.