Kicking off 2022 with a rare Sunday afternoon game!
This is the third matchup this season between the Knicks (17-19) and Raptors (15-17), both coming in two games under .500. The Raptors won both earlier games despite missing Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes in one contest, and OG Anunoby in the other. All three should be available in this one which would mark only the fifth game this season they will play together. To be more specific, that trio has been on the court at the same time for only 75 minutes all season!
On the flip side, the Knicks will be extremely shorthanded and will depend heavily on RJ Barrett. The Canadian had 26 points (10-20 shooting) in the Knicks 95-80 loss to the Thunder on Friday. Barrett started the season well but had a tough November, averaging only 12 points on 36 percent from the field. He went back up to 17.6 ppg in December on 40 percent, mixing in a clapback at a Pistons fan last Wednesday.
Look for Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley to also put up a lot of shots. Burks had a career-high tying 34 points in that same Detroit game. It’s anybody’s guess what the Knicks are going to do for size with nearly all of their bigs out for this game (see injury report below). OG, Pascal and Scottie should have no problems getting to the rim. Siakam is enjoying his best stretch of the season, averaging 26 points, 10.3 boards and 5.7 assists in his last three games. He’s shot 50 percent or better from the field in his last four. Pascal shot 3-18 against New York in December, but it’s hard to envision that happening again.
Gary Trent is 10-36 in his last two games since returning from protocols. He should be able to get some good looks in this game with plenty of playmakers on the court. Predicting a bounce back performance on both sides. Trent has made quite a few defensive mistakes lately too.
Like Kelsea would say, nothin but positives. Good health has returned. What more do you want?
Tip-off: 3:30pm EST | TV: TSN4 | Radio: Sportsnet 590
Really banged up squad coming in. Mitchell Robinson recently entered protocols so he’s out joining Julius Randle, Nerlens Noel, Jericho Sims and Wayne Selden. Derrick Rose (knee surgery) hasn’t played since December 16. Danuel House (finger) and Kemba Walker (sore left knee) also won’t play. Luka Samanic is out too. Evan Fournier (sore right ankle) is questionable.
PG: Miles McBride, Immanuel Quickley
SG: Evan Fournier, Quentin Grimes
SF: RJ Barrett, Alec Burks
PF: Obi Toppin, Kevin Knox
C: Taj Gibson
The Raptors don’t have anybody in Covid protocols for the first time in two weeks after Isaac Bonga was cleared. Scottie Barnes (knee) is probable. David Johnson (calf) is out. D.J. Wilson’s 10-day hardship exemption has expired.
PG: Fred VanVleet, Dalano Banton, Malachi Flynn
SG: Gary Trent Jr, Svi Mykhailiuk, Isaac Bonga
SF: Scottie Barnes, Yuta Watanabe, Justin Champagnie
PF: OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher
C: Pascal Siakam, Khem Birch, Precious Achiuwa
The Raptors are favoured by 7.5 points. Over/under is at 209.5
My over/under prediction (8-4 this season): The Knicks have not given up 100 points in any of their last four games. Logically it doesn’t make sense to take the over here but that’s exactly what I’m doing. The Raptors will have an easier time scoring than their last win vs NY (90-87) because unlike the last two games, all of their weapons should be available.