It's hard to remember a time when the Knicks were a threat. Yeah, they made the playoffs a few years in a row there, once even making it to the second round, but those teams were something of an illusion. The Raptors have their own history with the Knicks -- they were once the team Toronto could not get past -- but that now feels like a different, alternate timeline. The Raptors are good, the Knicks are not, and on and on it goes.
Today's afternoon game (beginning at 3pm, rather than the classic 12:30 in the days of yore) is already something of a disappointment. The Knicks' future Kristaps Porzingis will not play due to some lingering Achilles pain. This means the Raptors will have only to grapple with the trio of delusion: Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Carmelo Anthony. As they have been assembled by Phil Jackson, these three form... a... triangle. The Knicks are 2-8 in their past ten games. Anyway.
The Raptors are rounding back into form after a 3-3 mega road trip and a stretch of schedule that proved to be difficult. There were some signature wins in there -- Utah is still reeling -- but now they ease into a fun little stretch kicked off by beating up the Nets, today's game against the Knicks, and showdowns with the Sixers, Hornets and Suns. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are already licking their chops.
If there's a shadow hanging over Toronto right now it's because Patrick Patterson -- third most important guy on the team -- will sit this game out. It remains unclear if the Raps are being cautious during a light patch of the schedule, or if the condition of Patterson's knee is more concerning. Time will tell.
But I'm getting ahead of myself here. The Knicks are not great and they're at the ACC. Let's start with that first.
Check out Michael Hoad's preview here and then, as always, let's watch.