for this game

Chandler, Robinson combine to help Knicks embarrass Raptors

Feb 21, 2009 - 5:13 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- The New York Knicks may be planning for 2010, but their progress this season should not get lost in the shuffle.

Wilson Chandler scored a career-high 32 points as the Knicks engineered a wire-to-wire, 127-97 demolition of the Toronto Raptors in Friday's opener of a home-and-home set.

With the win, New York (23-31) matched its win total from last season and pulled within two games of the eighth-place Milwaukee Bucks (27-31) in the Eastern Conference.

"Obviously, we're trying to make the playoffs," Chandler said. "So we just come out be aggressive, play hard and just try to win games."

"I think it is a big factor in the sense that we do have money in 2010," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Everybody knows that, but we are not waiting for that. You are not going to play with one or two guys in 2010. You have to have 10 guys, and a lot of these guys will hopefully be the core of that."

Nate Robinson added 26 points off the bench and David Lee collected 24 and 15 rebounds for the Knicks, who played their first game since pulling the trigger on two trades prior to Thursday's trade deadline.

The newcomers, forward Chris Wilcox and guard Larry Hughes, did not make an appearance in this one. New York did not need them, taking a 42-22 lead after the first quarter en route to its largest margin of victory this season.

"Guys just had it rolling," Robinson said. "We shared the ball. The ball was moving. Guys' spirits is high. On the defensive side of the ball, we did a great job of limiting them to one shot.

"We got rebounds, kicked it out and that's how we need to play."

Wilcox arrived from the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Malik Rose in a swap of expiring contracts. Hughes was dealt for center Jerome James, forward Tim Thomas and guard Anthony Roberson, who were sent to Chicago.

Robinson, who was nearly dealt to the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, admitted that the deadline is an anxious time, but it's time to put that in the past.

"There's a lot to worry about," Robinson said. "Night in and night out, there's an NBA team that's trying to kick our butts. That's something that we're trying to do as well ... is try to win every game that we can.

"We have a goal that coach set and we're going to go out there and try to succeed."

The Knicks, who now have won two straight after finishing the first half of the season on a frustrating six-game losing streak, scored the first nine points of the game. Chandler capped the run with an alley-oop jam to effectively let the air out of Toronto's balloon.

"They got off to a nine-point lead," Raptors All-Star forward Chris Bosh said. "It's only nine points, but it's the way you start, and I don't think we were very aggressive in going to the hole."

New York, which led by as many as 38 in the third quarter, shot 17-of-39 from the arc, matching its most 3-point attempts in franchise history and falling two shy of the club mark for makes.

Lee notched his 43rd double-double of the season - and 18th consecutive - while Robinson fell just short of his third straight 30-point game and what would have been his second since claiming the All-Star Slam Dunk title last weekend in Phoenix.

Joey Graham scored 19 points off the bench and Bosh added 12 and nine rebounds for Toronto, which was in a 75-60 hole at halftime. It was the most points the Raptors had allowed in a first half in franchise history.

"It seemed like as soon as the game started, the basket was so wide-open for them," Raptors forward Shawn Marion said. "We didn't make any baskets, and they just had one of those nights where everything seemed to go in."

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