Three games separate the Toronto Raptors from the playoffs. They are almost for sure going to end up with the second seed in the Eastern Conference, trailing the Cleveland Cavaliers by 2.5 games. In that way, tonight's game against the Knicks is a formality.
The Knicks have had a rough campaign, marred by an ongoing inability to figure out the triangle and a cast of characters that can't muster any sort of day-to-day consistency. They have talent, featuring veteran Carmelo Anthony and rookie Kristaps Porzingis, but they have done very little for a squad once looked at as a fringe playoff contender. A win tonight wouldn't get them any closer to playoff hopes in the future. For that, they will have to wait for the summer.
At best, this is a chance for the Raptors to boost their confidence before the playoffs -- a time in which they have stumbled in recent years. A flashy, convincing win could help reassure the roster that they have earned their playoff seeding. In particular, tonight could be a chance for the starting unit to get back on track. Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and DeMarre Carroll all sat out during the team's win against the Indiana Pacers.
Watch for Casey to balance getting his stars plenty of touches with continuing to harbour confidence in his bench. In the big win agains the Pacers, rookie Norman Powell had a huge game, notching 27 points. Look for Powell to be given a chance to show this was not a fluke.
For the Knicks, the only real constant is Anthony. The guy can still really play, even while sporting a variety of injuries. He will score, no matter how he is defended. Beating the Knicks comes down to how well all the other guys are contained.
Game unimportance aside, let's put our comfy pants on and hope for some Porzingis putbacks. Notice anything interesting, contribute to the conversation in the comments section below. Also, read my preview to get ready for the game.