The Toronto Raptors are heading into the mecca of basketball tonight, Madison Square Garden, to face off with the New York Knicks and hopefully end this three game skid that they are on. They just faced off against the Knicks 10 days ago on December first and that game ended with a loss, so hopefully the result is different tonight.
Toronto is coming into this game after a bad loss against the Charlotte Hornets where the offense largely struggled. Offense is something that has plagued the Raptors in countless games this season. Slow starts have also placed Toronto into some deep holes to climb out of and then when the offense eventually begins to hum it is just too late. Last game against the Knicks Scottie Barnes was able to go off for 29 points as his outside shot was looking sweet and he was the same battering ram to the rim that he usually is. It is not a given that Scottie will make that many threes again but he can attack the Knicks in the paint and mid range area as well again. Pascal Siakam also needs to join in on the fun again if the Raptors are going to have a chance to win and lately, Barnes and Siakam have done a great job coexisting together despite the personnel issues that they face together. New York has a strong interior defense so OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr’s shooting will be extremely important tonight as well.
The Knicks two headed monster of Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson always prove difficult to contain but last game Toronto did a pretty solid job on both, especially Brunson who had an inefficient night. However, the big swing factor in that game was the bench shooting that the Knicks got from Donte Divencenzo and Josh Hart who had 21 points and 17 points respectively. Those two most likely won’t score like that again tonight but it shows that Toronto is going to have to focus on the Knicks bench lineups because they have great depth. Bench scoring has also plagued Toronto this season so it would be nice if they could get anything from Malachi Flynn or Precious Achiuwa who will be large fixtures in the rotation.
Toronto has the defenders to handle Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson and even RJ Barrett as well, but it will be upon Jakob Poetl to be in position and for the help defense to also be on point as well. The Knicks aren’t the best matchup for Toronto because the interior defense is tough and Toronto has had shooting troubles all year long, but winning this game is very possible and it starts on the defensive end. The Knicks enforcer inside, Mitchell Robinson, is out for this game but their backup center Isaiah Hartenstein is no slouch on that end either, although it will be easier than if Mitchell Robinson was patrolling the paint.
Tip-Off: 7:30pm EST | TV: Sportsnet 1, 4K | Radio: TSN Radio 1050
No changes with Christian Koloko (respiratory). Otto Porter Jr is out(foot)
PG: Dennis Schroder, Malachi Flynn
SG: Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr., Gradey Dick
SF: O.G. Anunoby, Jalen McDaniels, Garrett Temple
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young
C: Jakob Poeltl, Precious Achiuwa
Jalen Brunson is questionable(ankle), Mitchell Robinson is out(Ankle)
PG: Immanuel Quickley, Miles McBride
SG: Donte Divencenzo, Quentin Grimes
SF: RJ Barrett, Josh Hart, Evan Fournier
PF: Julius Randle, Jacob Toppin
C: Isaiah Hartenstein, Jericho Sims
Toronto is -4.0 point underdogs tonight, O/U is 216.5, moneyline is NToronto at +173