NEW YORK — The New York Knicks ended their disappointing season on a modest four-game winning streak after knocking off the playoff-bound Toronto Raptors 95-92 Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks (37-45), last season’s Atlantic Division champions, finished out of the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
Toronto (48-34), this season’s Atlantic Division champs, sealed the third spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs by going 6-2 in April. The Raptors will enjoy home-court advantage to start the playoffs for the third time in their history.
Guard Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 22 points.
Shooting guard J.R. Smith topped the Knicks with 30 points, and rookie guard Tim Hardaway Jr. added 18.
Smith’s fall-away jumper with 21.8 seconds to play gave the Knicks a 94-90 lead. His driving dunk tied the game at 90-90 with 2:14 left, and a dunk on a follow from center Cole Aldrich provided New York with a 92-90 cushion with 1:23 to go.
Center Tyler Hansbrough scored with 13 seconds left to draw Toronto to within 94-92. Toronto got the ball back with four seconds to play, but Smith stole the inbounds pass, was fouled and sank one of two from the line to seal the win.
The Knicks were without three of their starters.
Forward Carmelo Anthony sat out the last two games with a right labrum tear. He finished the season averaging 27.4 points and 8.1 rebounds in 38.7 minutes a game. This season marked the first time in his 10-year career he failed to make the playoffs.
Cole Aldrich made just his second start of the season at center for the Knicks. He replaced Tyson Chandler, who along with point guard Raymond Felton didn’t dress for the game. Aldrich scored 13 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for his third double-double this season.
The Knicks took their first lead, 71-70, since midway through the first quarter on Aldrich’s basket with 1:23 left in the third quarter. Hardaway Jr., who scored eight points in the quarter, hit one of two free throws with 10 seconds left for a 74-73 lead before Hansbrough drained a free throw to tie it at 74-74 with one second to go.
Lowry was on the bench when the Raptors started the second quarter on an 18-6 run, extending their lead to 46-27 with 7:07 left until halftime. Lowry’s replacement, Greivis Vasquez, started the run by scoring the first seven points.
Lowry scored 17 points in the first quarter, including all of Toronto’s final 12 points over 2:29 seconds, helping it to a 28-21 lead. He also contributed three rebounds and two assists.
Toronto shot a sizzling 64.7 percent in the first quarter, compared to 26.1 percent for the Knicks.
NOTES: The Knicks signed 34-year-old F Lamar Odom before the game. In 961 games during 14 seasons with four teams, Odom has averaged 13.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He played two games for Baskonia (Spain) this season and last played in the NBA for the Clippers in 2012-13. Odom played for Knicks president Phil Jackson for six seasons when he coached the Lakers. … The Raptors lead the Eastern Conference in free throws made and free throw percentage going into the season finale. … Toronto advanced to the playoffs for the sixth time in its history and the first time since 2008.
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