Quick Reaction: Raptors 132, Knicks 106

11 mins read
Toronto 132 Final
Box Score
106 New York

S. Ibaka24 MIN, 14 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 5-14 FG, 2-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 4 +/-

Had some good energy initially, then a much rougher stretch followed. It took getting into Tim Hardaway’s face and earning a technical to get him going again – he responded with a chase-down block and a really nice third quarter, then retired to the Snapchat DMs.

N. Powell21 MIN, 7 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 3-7 FG, 1-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 4 +/-

Looked a lot more confident again here, smoothly hitting a transition corner three and scoring on a couple of attacks. He didn’t shoot it well overall, but he continues to trend in the right direction. He’s back to where Casey’s probably going to keep getting him minutes when Anunoby is back. By the way, Eric Smith mentioned on the broadcast that Anunoby has found watching Powell’s pick-and-roll defense to be really helpful from a learning perspective while sidelined.

J. Valanciunas22 MIN, 17 PTS, 9 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 4-6 FG, 0-0 3FG, 9-10 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 1 +/-

Was the most aggressive Raptor early on, putting up 10 points in the first quarter and living at the line. He was a bully most of the night, not just on the block but driving. Had a pair of assists and had another pass that doesn’t show up, a great twisting kick-out on the dive that led to a clean corner three attempt on the swing.

K. Lowry28 MIN, 16 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 3-8 FG, 2-7 3FG, 8-8 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 8 +/-

Hadn’t hit a field goal until the third quarter, then had a moment where he took over. Other than that spurt, it was a “quieter” night, and he had 16 points on 13 used possessions, dished seven assists, and contributed just about everywhere else. There’s a version of Lowry somewhere below KLOE that amounts to “casual Lowry very-goodness,” and this was that. I still don’t know why he and Hardaway got matching techs.

D. DeRozan28 MIN, 9 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST, 0 STL, 4-16 FG, 0-3 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 15 +/-

Didn’t quite have hit offensively. He was missing jumpers and failing to bait fouls early, but the attacking lanes were there. He didn’t use them a ton, and while 4-of-16 is unsightly, he did well to shift into more of a facilitating role as the situation called. The ball movement in the DeRozan-and-bench groups was pristine, and DeRozan’s pushing in transition was a big part of it.

J. Poeltl21 MIN, 10 PTS, 8 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 5-8 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 23 +/-

Eventually, people are going to stop trying Poeltl around the rim. Until then, he’ll continue holding opponents to a lower percentage inside. He didn’t even have a block here and his impact was felt. His mind-meld on offense with Siakam is so much fun. He dished three assists here, and the passing of all the bigs together is really important.

D. Wright19 MIN, 12 PTS, 2 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 5-7 FG, 2-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 11 +/-

So, I guess the toe is fine. That spin move with the lefty finish was the closest I’ve ever come to feeling true love. He didn’t miss a damn step, and the 3-point percentage continues to hover around league average, which is huge.

P. Siakam18 MIN, 9 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 4-8 FG, 0-0 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 20 +/-

This guy is now not only pushing off misses and creating for himself, he’s firing terrific no-look passes to shooters, dumping off to trailers, and kicking it out when he gets his usual outlets. He blocked Michael Beasley, too, which I think makes him Supercool Skills now. This was his third 6+ assist game of the year.

C. Miles18 MIN, 13 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 5-8 FG, 3-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 19 +/-

Started his night with a ludicrous bank-shot heave at the end of the first and kept rolling from there, putting up 13 points and a +19 in 18 minutes. The second-unit offense when he’s firing can be a lot of fun, especially so when it’s a star-led group with three or four bench pieces. Was one worrisome moment where he planted funny on his right foot and appeared to roll his ankle.

F. VanVleet16 MIN, 11 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 4-5 FG, 2-3 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 17 +/-

The plus-minus god had a +17 in 16 minutes. He came in, hit a couple threes, made a tough finish, and annoyed the Knicks because the Knicks are so used to nobody actually trying against them. Bet on yourself.

M. Miller12 MIN, 8 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-4 FG, 2-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 4 +/-

Still got minutes at the end of the second and delivered, drilling a three to end a drought and then hitting a snap-release three in a hurry at the end of the quarter. Added a garbage-time dunk for good measure. He’s shown a lot the last few weeks.

N. Hayes5 MIN, 6 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-2 FG, 2-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 2 +/-

Made his Raptors debut, immediately hit two threes, and gave the Knicks a bit of a knowing celebration. Could be us but you playing, and all. Casey gave him a quick talk about that, but not before the bench could mob him a bit for his fun couple of minutes. Nice to see him get in a game and carry that G League shooting over.

L. Nogueira5 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-

Old friend. Bebe hasn’t been a great garbage-time performer in general, playing way better when his minutes matter. He was fine here, though, even making sure to get his usual assist to remind you of his passing chops.

Dwane Casey

Kept the rotation 11-deep to keep Miller involved even with Wright back and Powell starting, kept the stars limited to 28 minutes, and dusted off some older sets the Knicks looked woefully unprepared for. This was the biggest possible trap game imaginable – coming off the Rockets win, after a night in New York, with an early tip after the time-change – and his team had all the focus they needed. The ball movement was sexy.

Things We Saw

  1. The first quarter was a bit of a slog, the Raptors not defending particularly well and the Knicks making some shots that were probably going to cease. Kyle O’Quinn is great, but he’s not going to beat a team by himself all game. Even still, the Raptors were ahead five. You won’t be shocked to learn that the bench changed the energy, ripping off a 9-0 run in the second. That shifted the tone enough to where it went from ugly to a pretty entertaining back-and-forth. Things went mostly as you’d expect all night, the Raptors slowly rolling out of reach because they’re significantly better and eventually ending up with the second-highest regulation point total in franchise history.
  2. The Knicks went small late in the first half and cut the lead back down, but the Raptors made them pay on the glass. Future 10-time Gerald Henderson Award winner Luke Kornet did a nice job protecting the rim, he just couldn’t also corral the second chances. The Raptors kept missing tip-ins, leading Matt Devlin to yell, “Is there a lid on the basket?!” It did not stay on the basket long.
  3. My non-basketball-watching roommate was not feeling the Knicks’ City uniforms. The Madison Square Garden aesthetic is otherwise undefeated.
  4. The Raptors have now won eight in a row, the third-longest winning streak in franchise history. They’ve also won 15 of their last 16 and have a three-game lead atop the Eastern Conference (until Boston plays Indiana later). They haven’t lost to a bad team since Boxing Day. They had 32 assists, the 12th time this year they’ve had 30-plus, which is the second most in a season in franchise history. There’s a lot to enjoy right now. Have a wonderful Sunday.