Tim Hardaway Jr..

"Explicit" half-time exchange leads Knicks to historic win over the Raptors

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The New York Knicks continued their impressive home form by securing their best win against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.

The 108-100 victory was the team's seventh win at Madison Square Garden in the last eight games and was fueled by a historic third quarter.

After going in at half-time down 58-49, the Knicks came out firing after the break and incredibly outscored the Raptors 41-10 in the period.

This was sparked by an astonishing 28-0 run which was the largest in the NBA in eight seasons. The 31-point differential was also the Knicks' biggest in a quarter in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55).

To make things worse for their opponents, it was Toronto's worst quarter in franchise history.

New York looked like a different team in the second half and several players revealed that it was as a result of some heated exchanges in the locker room.

Head coach Jeff Hornacek wasn't happy with the defensive effort of his team in the first half and he let them know in no uncertain terms.

"We came in here, we watched film and coach kind of got on me. I really didn't like what was being said," Courtney Lee said, per ESPN. "... [It was] a little explicit. I don't think I can repeat what he said to the media. But we exchanged words and we went from there."

Utah Jazz v New York Knicks

Star player Kristaps Porzingis - who finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds - also pointed to the intense half-time discussion as an important factor behind the comeback win.

"We had some stronger words for each other and we talked about stuff that we wanted to do better and we came out in the second half and played like a different team," he said.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added: "Just a lot of us guys just coming in at halftime and letting it be known that we can't make mistakes like that on defence. ... A lot of us were tentative."

There was certainly nothing tentative about Hardaway's play on the night as he produced a stunning display by posting a career-high 38 points, along with six rebounds and seven assists.

Utah Jazz v New York Knicks

"He was unbelievable," Porzingis said.

The Knicks raised eyebrows when they signed the shooting guard to a $71 million contract in the summer but he has justified that big-money deal in the early part of the season with some huge performances.

He's averaging 23.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists over the last five games.

Los Angeles Clippers v New York Knicks

"I love his intensity," coach Hornacek said. "He's an intense person out there, sometimes maybe too much, but it's all about winning. He wants to win."

That winning mentality has translated throughout the franchise as they improve to 10-7 and sit in fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
Kristaps Porzingis
New York Knicks

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