Knicks 95, Raptors 92: J.R. Smith erupted for 30 points as host New York ended a difficult season with a win over Atlantic Division-champion Toronto.
Smith knocked down 13-of-19 attempts from the field while Cole Aldrich added 13 points, a career-best 16 rebounds and five blocked shots for the Knicks, who were without regulars Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 18 points off the bench while Toure’ Murray contributed 15 as New York finished 37-45.
Kyle Lowry's 22 points paced the Raptors, who secured the No. 3 seed in the East earlier in the night after Chicago fell 91-86 in overtime to Charlotte. The Raptors will face the division-rival Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs beginning Saturday at Air Canada Centre.
The Knicks whittled a 13-point halftime deficit down to one on Aldrich's short jumper with 7:09 remaining in the third quarter, and he added a layup with 1:23 remaining as New York seized a brief lead before settling for a 74-74 tie entering the fourth. The teams traded leads six times in the final quarter until Aldrich's putback sent the Knicks ahead for good with 1:23 remaining and Smith put the game out of reach on a fadeaway jumper with 21.8 seconds left.
Toronto overcame some early offensive struggles to jump ahead by six on back-to-back Lowry 3-point plays late in the first quarter. The Raptors connected on their first seven attempts of the second quarter to help extend the lead to as many as 21 points, and shot 60.5 percent in the half en route to a 57-44 edge.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Toronto finished the season with a franchise-record 48 wins. ... New York reportedly signed F Lamar Odom to a multi-year contract prior to the game. Odom, who last played in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2012-13, will work out for the team over the summer before president Phil Jackson decides whether to guarantee Odom's deal for the 2014-15 season. ... The teams split four regular-season meetings.