Certain events make you perk up and take notice at the goings-on of a winning team. New York, a team flush with talent, who found a gem keeping the pine warm, with quality talent from 1 through 10, who only needed to change the voice on the bench to get back to playing basketball worthy of a playoff team are relevant for the second time in the same season.

After running D’Antoni out of town, Carmelo has decided (or rather was forced) to play with pride and conviction; not taking any possessions off. Not a great deal has changed with Woodson taking the helm, except the prima-donna winning the power struggle and realizing there are no more excuses; ladies and gentlemen, I present you the Knicks.

After getting their assess handed to them on Wednesday, the Raptors have a chance at restitution on their home-court to bring the season series even at two a piece.

Areas of focus:

  • Need to be aggressive defending that high pick-and-roll against Lin and Stoudemire. Calderon, who played a staggering 40 minutes on his first game back from injury, is going to have a hell of a time keeping Lin under wraps. With Bayless potentially out (or playing injured), he’s going to be called on for heavy minutes again, and needs to really make Lin work for everything. He’s going to need to fight through screens aggressively, and hope he gets some help on the hedge from Bargnani or Gray (or Amir or Davis). He can get some back on offense, by forcing boy wonder to contend and play on his heals.
  • Defensive rotations need to be tight, and smooth. Far too often, when Stoudemire went at Bargnani, the other big would rotate, and no one would pick up Chandler who licked his lips at being open under the rim.
  • The Knicks are 10 deep, meaning they have 5-guys who can come in, and change the complexion of the game; especially on the wing where the Raptors haven’t been so weak in recent memory. Again, if Bayless is playing, it changes things for the Raptors, but a bench rotation of Forbes, Kleiza and Butler makes me hate basketball something fierce.
  • Q: You know what I loved about DeRozan on Wednesday against the Bulls? A: He curled off that high screen, caught the pass, and kept going to the rack; on multiple plays. This is the kind of Rip Hamilton basketball I love seeing from shooting guards. His 17 against the Knicks was so utterly ineffectual, it has Arse dropping giving his life-sized DeRozan blowup doll the camel clutch in rage. Lets see him attack the Knick defense in the paint more than five-times tonight.
  • Protect the glass; I mean seriously. We have four forwards, who are tall, mobile and athletic (Gray not so much), and the Knicks dominated the offensive glass 16-4. For those who were counting, that translated in exactly 12 more possession…Raptors lost by 19, you do the math.
  • Where the hell is Bargnani? I realize he missed a ton of games via injury, but in the eight games since his return, he’s averaging 12.5pts 4.8rebs 2.1ast on 33.7% from the field and 14.3% from beyond the arc. This is unacceptable, and leads me to believe that he’s either not fully recovered from his injury, or has reverted to his limp noodle ways.

The Knicks are 5.5 point favourites tonight, and if Bayless isn’t ready to go, it’s going to take a full-team, full-48 effort to defend home court. Since those types of efforts have been few and far between, my monies on New York to put this away by the 4th; Knicks by 13.

Photo Credit: Chris Chambers/Getty Images

  • Nilanka15

    I thought the Knicks’ defense was the difference maker on Tuesday.  Their full court pressure totally took us out of our rhythm offensively.

    • Sam Holako

      The press is hard to break when your starting pg is hobbling a bit, and your backup pg may not be in the game.

      • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

        2nd year in a row the Raptors have been caught with just 2 pgs and 1 is injured- BC is stuck on stupid.

        NBA 101 – a team should have 3 legit roster pgs in case of injury, fouls and the like.

  • Bendit

    Got to lessen Lin’s effectiveness by picking him up high. They/he likes to run the ball up the court and setup early in the shot clock and even take the early shot if presented. Bayless would be more effective defending this but….

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      Who will pick him up high- Jose?lmfao

  • Nilanka15

    Curious to see how the Lin-loving Toronto crowd will react tonight…

    …and then tomorrow morning we can all discuss/argue over our traitor fanbase, lol.

    • Lorenzo

       Such is life at RR – knowing all the comments before you even click the article..

    • Destro

      Fanbase is fine….When your 15-33 your going to get alot of “fringe” fans that show up for “events” such as Lin or Yao Ming or things of that nature…

      IF this team starts winning again and making the playoffs,those gimmick crowds will evaporate….

  • minks77

    I’m going to the game and have great seats. I will be cussing out anyone in my section cheering the wrong team. Lin’s a nice story but c’mon. 

    • Lorenzo

       Bring your sledgehammer

  • ShermanTank

    We need to lose this game. #TankPride

    • Jeffrey Thompson

      Win or lose, we’re still heading to the lottery with one of the worst records in the league 

      • Lorenzo

         What good is a terrible record when you don’t get Anthony Davis?

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      More like Stank Pride.

      Pride is a sin by the way…..

      • Raps4Ever

        “Pride is a sin by the way…..”

        Is that why you’re so determined not to have any? You speak from a religious point of view? Really? With what comes out of you on here? That’s funny as HELL.

        “by the way”, Pride, when not spoken of in some over the top sanctimonious way, is more often known as “A feeling of dignity, self-respect;
        satisfaction in your achievements, possessions, or people you care
        about. A good thing to have.”

        Based on how you present yourself on here, you certainly are determined to resist the “sin” of dignity and self-respect.

        • Brian

          If being an idiot was a sin, Gots2Go would go straight to hell lol.

  • Theswirsky

    Raps take this one on the back of a Bargnani 20 – 10

    Book it

    • Destro

      20 pts, -10

      book it

      • CJT

        +23 A hole. 

        • Destro

          2nd option faggot

          • CJT

            Is that your way of saying, “yes, I was way off with my petty uninformed opinion and I apologize for doubting”?

    • Raps4Ever

      Brilliant, original sarcasm!!

    • Theswirsky

      I repeat 

      book it

      • CJT

        Good call.

  • Destro

    OVER/UNDER on bargnani rebounds : 5

    One of the few games i’d take the over…

    • DC

      Really? Idk about that Ill take the under. 

    • j bean

      His biggest problem rebounding is his stamina. Lately he looks like he has played 40 minutes after the 1st and he doesn’t have gas in the tank. He’s never had an athletic label attached to him but come on, thirteen good games for the year? 

      • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

        13 games and his fan boys were screaming All Star game now they are offering up excuses like the past 5 years…..

        Year 7 will be AB’s breakout season- for 20 games?lmfao

        BC is still shitting on fans while calling it Kobe steak and pissing on fans while calling it rainwater…smdh

        • Tremaine

          You win the “I am stuck on stupid badge” for today, enjoy and congrats SMFH @ you….

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      5 or under……

    • Destro

      Only cuz it was the Knicks….

  • sleepz

    Mike Woodson looks like a human version of a cartoon character imo. He has without a doubt the blackest beard in the NBA and his head shines like the Northern star. Glad to see him back on the sidelines.

    How can the Raps even contemplate trying to beat Blackbeard’s squad? He’s way too cool for that to happen.

    • Nilanka15

      Popeye Jones is pretty cartoony too

      • Maxim

        So are you, you remind me of Barney Simpson.

        • Nilanka15

          Who?

          • CJT

            I think he meant Barney from the Simpsons, I think Moe from the Simpsons looks like the white LeBron.

            • Nilanka15

              “Gin…and….tonic?  Do they mix?”

              • CJT

                Nice.

      • sleepz

        Indeed he is but in a slightly more alarming way.

        I don’t mean to diss the man but when he played for the Raps he often reminded me of a handsome Sloth from the Goonies.

        (no insult intended to Popeye as he was a serious rebounder and I respect him).

        • Lorenzo

           LOL

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    So the 2 players BC brought in for veteran leadership are gone now- ACarter & RButler.lmfao

    And no recently released/waived players are considering or signing with the Raptors even though BC has all the cap space to work out a deal with available players- no one wants to play for BC in Toronto if they have other options.

    • Raps4Ever

      With all the conspiracies you throw out, haven’t you realized that BC’s real (conspiracy) plan this year is to piss off, and try to chase away, fans who feel that “Pride” (dignity,self-respect) “is a sin”?

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    I see NY beating the Raptors by 10 plus points tonite.

    • Raps4Ever

      I have to start betting against all your predictions.

      • CJT

        I have been using this formula all year.  Take what dickweed predicts flip it and bet hard.  My mortgage thanks you Gots2Go. 

    • CJT

      Gold as always.  My proline thanks you again.  Holy F your bad at this prediction stuff. 

  • Lorenzo

    Sign James Posey!!

    • yonas

      Can I have some of that?

    • Nilanka15

      No thanks. That will worsen our draft chances.

  • Trrruth

    get your tiny yellow dick out of there if you aren’t cheering for the raptors, I hate that shit.

    • CJT

      You’re an A-hole.

      • Trrruth

        yeah buddy.

  • Destro

    Does Leo Rautins wear a bargnani jersey under his suit…This guy is so damn biased and awful that its actually funny….

    When Bargs is not playing and they blow a 4th qtr lead :
    “They really miss Bargnani right now”

    When Bargs is in the lineup and they blow a 4th qtr lead:
    “They are missing a full compliment of players right now”

    This guys stanning is orange alert levels…I dont thnk Leo likes this team at all,he just loves him the hell out of some bargnani…and if this team ever became full roster of american born/black players,Leo would relocate to another city/team…

    • Akash_singh

      yeah, he should follow matt devlins example and tell the truth 😉

    • Lorenzo

      I think it’s because of the fact that he’s the best player on the team, which means he’ll obviously get more attention. Here I’ll give you an example:

      If Barg was a regular 10 rebound a night guy, you wouldn’t be hearing these mid-game blurbs like “oh NICE rebound by Bargnani!” because we’d be used to that. Since he’s not known for his amazing defensive “skills”; whenever he does a real good defensive play we get -i guess you can say- excited about it.

      Just like if you saw Dwight Howard nail a three pointer. You’re not going to brush it off nonchalantly, you’re going to make a big deal about it; and you should.

      You have to accept your players for what they are, not for something that you want them to be.

      And that thing at the end was completely unnecessary, no need for any conflict that isn’t basketball related.

      • Destro

        This post has nothing to do with my point…and to be honest your example was marginal….because the comparative was dishonest…

        I should expect bargs to rebound 10 or close to ten times a game because he’s a 7 foot centre…we shouldnt expect Dwight to make 3 pointers for the same reason,its not his job…either OR it had nothing to do with the obvious point that Leo Rautins is intellectually dishonest with how analyzes bargnani compared with other players….

        He compliments AB excessively for things other guys do and he doesnt criticize bargs for things he does other guys do….Bargs failure to do his job as a centre is NOT the point….

        • Raps4Ever

          Yeah, it’s insane that a 7 footer whose team’s offensive scheme is almost always him playing the perimeter and drawing a big out (just like Dwight!),,,,,, and whose team’s defensive schemes have him defending out on the perimeter a lot and showing a lot out there,,,, well, it’s just insane that he can’t also get down low and get a lot of rebounds. I bet Dwight could play the role on both O and D the way the Raps have AB playing, ans still gets tons of rebounds.

          • Destro

            WTF are you serious ?
            You think the Raptors offensive scheme is to “play” him on the perimeter HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAH

            smh now i realize why you didnt get my point,cuz your just like Rautins,your an apologist for #7

            SO let me guess we can now blame the Raps “schemes” that keep him on the perimeter for his lack of rebounding..

            I sincerely hope you were joking…

            • Lorenzo

               How is it not???

              Almost every time Bargs has the ball its either at the elbow or just under the 3-point line, with the occasional post up (which will 9 out of 10 times end in a FT line fadeaway).

              A reply with actual effort and sense put into it would be appreciated.

              • Destro

                They run that offense cuz thats how bargnani plays….from the outside IN…its not a raptor scheme,its a bargnani scheme….you cater your offense to your personnel…Do you notice we dont play a 2 man game when Magloire is in the game,its because Magloire doesnt shoot jumpers and 3 pointers…

          • Destro

            How does the Raps def schemes have Bargs defneding the perimeter ?
            Theres no other big men in the league that run to the 3 pt line to setup like him…so what bigs is he defending that requires this “scheme” for him to guard the perimeter ?

            smh

        • yonas

          but , he’s not a centre so he doesn’t need to get 10 rebounds

          • Destro

            Yes he is..you’re just told by the team he’s a PF instead to excuse his half assed rebounding and interior D BUT BUT BUT
            he is 7 foot and actually a C
            and the funny thing is it doesnt matter what you want to call him C or PF he should be rebounding regardless of the label,PF’s have to rebound too….in 2012 there arent really much true Centers anyways alot of hybrid big man that play both and are called both so you cant use THAT as the new excuse why he cant do it….

            Tim Duncan is also called a PF and he’s really a C/PF who plays like a center but is called a PF when he plays with a bigger guy behind him,but whatever the term he still rebounds 10-12 a game….

            I tell ya the protection Bargs is given here is just amazing…

            • CJT

              Great win huh!  Glad you are able to enjoy it with the rest of us fans.

              • Destro

                If it werent in direct conflict of the lottery i would agree,but with this years bunch im a bigger picture fan…

                • CJT

                  Is that what you tell yourself to help justify your negative outlook on everything?

            • CJT

              BTW AB, our power forward, out rebounded A’mare the knicks’ power foward tonight by about 30 percent. 

        • Lance

          Shutup dummy, you can never bring a legit case into an argument, but instead bring in race and sling interjections. You’re negative about every single aspect of the team including the broadcast? Then you imply Rautins is a racist? Get lost, don’t follow the team, and never come back you bonehead.

          • Destro

            Im not implying it,im saying it….he has all the bigot tendencies and codewords down….you keep getting mad about it though :)

      • Theswirsky

        “If Barg was a regular 10 rebound a night guy, you wouldn’t be hearing these mid-game blurbs like “oh NICE rebound by Bargnani!” because we’d be used to that. Since he’s not known for his amazing defensive “skills”; whenever he does a real good defensive play we get -i guess you can say- excited about it.”

        thats true, but that hardly makes not doing something (rebounding and defense) acceptable.  Its simply setting the bar low.

        At that rate one could argue we should just find this entire team ‘acceptable’ because they are what they are.

        • Raps4Ever

          The Raps just kicked some Knicks ass and some fans’ immediate choice of convo is……. sad

      • yonas

        oh i see like the 13 game thing people get excited about that.

  • Destro

    10 min mark 1st qtr : Landry Fields driving the lane,Bargs stainding flat footed in the paint,arms straight up watching….#improveddefense

    • Raps4Ever

      Yeah, and the bum couldn’t even do better than equal the scores of Fields, Melo, and Lin combined, while only out-rebounding Amare by 1. Great job in spotting that moment in time, and sharing the valuable insight, though!!! 

      • Destro

        Who cares about his scoring tho,his rebounding and D is all i care about….truth is he got outrebounded by a guard (Forbes) and Davis who played half his minutes….and bringing Amare into this is useless cuz he’s alos a lame rebounder and defender…what you dont seem to get is this team will never go anywhere under Bargs until he decides to be more than a one dimensional player….

        • CJT

          No he didn’t get out rebounded by Forbes.  Check your facts.  I could care less who gets the rebounds as long as it’s a Raptor.  The rebounds were spread out across the team with many contributors.  The object of the game is to score more points than the other BTW, so maybe scoring is a little important too.  Even if you don’t think so.  Melo, shit defender, considered one of the best players in the league on the strength of his offense only. 

          • Destro

            yea he did PER 48 lol
            NOw again why are you moving the goalposts again and bringing up melo ??Stay on topic,Bargs is one dimensional despite his scoring numbers and its benefical to the team if he was a better rebounder and defender to argue that is silly,scoring on a 20 win team is quite overrated but im sure you know that

            We could talk about alot of players on this team but he’s our “best” player right ? SO he should take much of the focus…and i no we dont care who gets the boards,the apologists love that line,but i do care…because the team doesnt grow unless bargs does these things or is at least held accountable for them…
            SO were you seriously trying to say Bargnani is in the same category as Melo as a player ? I hope you werent friend….

            • CJT

              I have to give you some credit, you will try and manipulate the facts to suit your opinion.  Last game AB had 5 boards and 6 assists, is that one dimensional? 

              I brought up Melo to highlight the inaccuracy of your statement that offense doesnt matter just defense, because most of the players that get the attention in the NBA get it because of their scoring ability.  Melo is a bad defender but is still regarded as one of the best “players” in the game. 

              I actually agree with you about the growth of AB being key to the success of the team.  I think he has improved his D this year in the games he has played, obviously he makes lots of mistakes, but so does everyone else. 

              • Destro

                No you didnt bruh…comparing Ab to Melo is a losing argument…nothing more.Melo is an elite scorer in the league,bargs is not…Melo has pedigree Bargs does not…

                A few games where he rebounds doesnt change what he is….13 games or the last two doestn erase 5 seasons…and the myth of bargs improved D is what prompts me to make these posts,cuz its a dishonest attempt by his legion to revise his legacy….

                Dude is as pitiful a defender as he ever was…Until those things change and this team loses IMMA TALK ABOUT IT….

                • CJT

                  Your arguments don’t contain any facts.  They never do.  So you keep talking about it.  Your opinion is just as valid as mine and I fully admit that and you are welcome to it.  But it would be a more interesting conversation if you were able to back up something you said with any sort of fact other than he sucks.  The numbers don’t add up with you.  Why is it ok for one player to be a one dimensional scorer and be your hero and the same characteristic makes another suck?  Ab was 15th in the NBA is scoring last year, I’d say that makes him pretty elite as a scorer.  Anyway keep up the good work.

                • Raps4Ever

                  Very well said CJT. Destro, the clown, babbling about Melo being a elite scorer and AB not.

                  This year Melo is averaging 20.1, with an “elite” FG% of .399. AB, even with the run of bad games as he comes back, avg. 19.4 with a FG% 0f .435 (nothing to celebrate, but Destro with his head up his azz, or is that his azz in his mouth, speaks of no D, volume shooter Melo as the cat’s meow.

        • Lance

          “Who cares about his scoring tho,his rebounding and D is all i care about”
          Lol sure buddy, and if he played excellent defence and rebounded, but didn’t score, you’d say the opposite. You just can’t be pleased you sad sad kid.

          • Destro

            No Lance whats sad is you gritting your teeth on a message board over a screename…

        • Raps4Ever

          Point is you were wallowing in the mud (like pigs do) over 1 fn play, and as we see above, continue to do nothing but whine and wallow some more, after they kick ass in a win. But, it’s important tonight for you to educate the masses with the black/white obvious, to demonstrate your superiour bball knowledge and fandom, right?

          Do you actually enjoy the misery this team actually causes you? There are 29 other teams, ya know, many other sports too, and Sesame Street to enjoy!

    • Lisa

      why can you only point out the negatives?…this is his best game back and that is what you would look to point?

      • Destro

        The positives are Forbes played great shot well and came up big in the 4th and DeMar played a solid game as well and got to the line…:)

      • Destro

        You should consider im a big proponent of tankwars ’12
        So i do find it negative they won this game…we need lottery balls,not empty moral victories….

        • CJT

          Don’t forget to mug some old people and kick the dog before bed.  Make yourself feel better.

          • Destro

            It doesnt take much to get you off your posting game…GOOD

            • CJT

              Huh?  I just wanted to make sure you got your dose of misery and negative energy before bed. 

  • SR

    I like that the Raps got “their ‘assess’ handed to them.” You make it sound like they just stopped by H&R Block.