That’s right, a little afternoon-delight for Raptors and Knicks fans today when the two tip off at a not-so-rare-for-Toronto time of 3:00 PM. It’s a return home for the Raps who just finished a perfect West Coast swing with wins over the Suns, Lakers, Jazz and Kings. They’ll try to stay undefeated at home when they take on the Knicks (4-8) who are coming off a win against the Hawks.
While the win against Atlanta is…nice, New York has been the same tire-fire this year as it has for the last few seasons, just with more injury trouble. Kristaps Porzingis is rehabbing a torn ACL and coach David Fizdale refuses to comment on whether or not the unicorn will be back this season. In the meantime, Tim Hardaway Jr. is doing his best to drag the big apple to relevancy with 24.3 points per game to go along with 3.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and a nice 1.0 steals a game.
Outside of Hardaway the Knicks’ next-best scoring option may be one of their bench players. Enes Kanter has only started five games this season but is coming off two massive performances. Kanter followed up a 23 points and 24 boards line with 17 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in 30 minutes off the bench on Monday. He doesn’t have the defensive ability to contain most big-men in the league however, and with the way Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas are playing – he may be given a shorter leash this afternoon.
Kevin Knox and Frank Nitilikina are two young players that at the very least can inspire some excitement from Knicks fans, but Knox missed all six shots he took in his last game and his strong preseason hasn’t transferred over.
As for the Raptors, they come in healthy, well-rested, and perched atop the Eastern Conference. Kawhi Leonard made it back on Wednesday with 25 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers. He was also perfect from the line and hopefully the nagging ankle injury he dealt with on the West Coast is behind him. It’d be nice to confirm he’s starting a little sooner than an hour before each game, but make sure to check old twitter-dot-com for any updates prior to tip.
TV: Sportsnet One
Radio: Sportsnet 590 The Fan
C.J. Miles is likely to play after dealing with a hip injury. He practiced with the team on Friday after begin held out of Wednesday’s game. Even if he does return to action, we can’t expect much. Miles has been one of the only disappointments from a strong start to the season. He’s averaging just 4.9 points and is ice cold from deep.
PG: Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright, Lorenzo Brown, Jordan Loyd
SG: Danny Green, Delon Wright, Malachi Richardson
SF: Kawhi Leonard, OG Anunoby, CJ Miles
PF: Pascal Siakam (He’s locked into the starting lineup) , OG Anunoby
C: Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas, Greg Monroe, Chris Boucher
Lance Thomas is out for at least four weeks after undergoing knee surgery – he was averaging just 4.4 points.
Emmanuel Mudiay is *questionable* against the Raptors – he’s dealing with an ankle injury.
PG: Frank Nitilikina, Trey Burke, Emmanuel Mudiay (Q), Ron Baker
SG: Tim Hardaway Jr., Damyean Dotson, Courtney Lee
SF: Kevin Knox, Mario Hezonja, Allonzo Trier
PF: Noah Vonleh, Isaiah Hicks, Lance Thomas (O) , Kristaps Porzingis (O)
C: Mitchell Robinson, Enes Kanter
The line opened at -14 for the Raptors.