It’s a Saturday afternoon matinée between the very good Raptors and the not so good New York Knicks. The Raptors return home after a perfect 4-0 Western Conference road trip and look to extend their win streak to six for the second time this season. On the other hand, the Knicks look to extend their win streak to a season-high two games.
The Knicks are led by their $17 million-man Tim Hardaway Jr., who’s averaging 24.3 points per game (15th in the league) and amongst those top-15 scorers, he has the worst field goal percentage at 41 percent.
Okay, that was my short-lived Knicks bashing.
On the bright spot, this is the only Saturday afternoon home game for the Raptors (they still have three more Sunday afternoon games).
The Raptors come into this one having scored 100 points in every game thus far and have scored over 110 in every win but one. This team has been an offensive powerhouse with and without Kawhi, Kyle Lowry is playing like the league MVP, Serge Ibaka is rebirthed and so much more.
Winning the back-to-back games against the Lakers and Jazz was impressive and fun to watch. Watching this Raptors team play a Knicks team still trying to find its identity feels like its going to be one of those games Raptors fans will be smiling for a full 48 minutes.
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet One, 3 PM ET
Toronto – Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka
New York – Tim Hardaway Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Damyean Dotson, Noah Vonleh, Mitchell Robinson
Toronto – Norman Powell (shoulder – OUT), C.J. Miles (right hip – likely)
New York – Lance Thomas (knee – OUT), Emmanuel Mudiay (ankle – questionable), Kristaps Porzingis (knee – OUT), Courtney Lee (neck – OUT)
I’m not just saying this because he’s on my Raptors HQ fantasy team, but I’m excited to watch Allonzo Trier play. The rookie out of the University of Arizona went undrafted and signed a two-way contract with the Knicks on July 3.
The Knicks started the rookie on November 5 in their double overtime loss to the Bulls, in which Trier scored a career-high 21 points on of five-of-15 shooting. Over the last six games, Trier is averaging 15.8 points and looks like he’s one of the only bright spots for the Knicks.
And I really don’t get why the team moved him back to the bench after his performance against the Bulls, but it’s the Knicks.
This is fun to say so I’m going to say it: with Norman Powell’s injury (that’s the not-so-fun part) the Raptors rotation is still 10-deep. Nick Nurse had 11 guys he could play on any given night – if Kawhi was playing – and that’s obviously tough to share minutes across the board. With Powell out at least a month, the Raptors can go back to their normal 10-man rotation.
Now, with Powell out it means C.J. Miles will be playing a little bit more. Miles is dealing with a hip injury but is expected to play. Now, can he get his three-point percentage back up, as he’s shooting 26% for the season. A 36% career three-point shooter can be valuable to this already lethal offense, so let’s pray Miles finds his range in this 10-man rotation.
A 3pm start on a Saturday is tough. People normally take this off-day from work and try to run errands or have family time. But look at it this way, you don’t have to get out of your (C.J.’s) PJs all-day if you just stay in to watch the Raptors-Knicks matinée. It’s a bit old school, but here we are.