It feels like only yesterday RJ Barrett was claiming his 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup MVP award after leading Canada to the title. The lead descripter there is important, indicating as it does Barrett’s age at the time: just over 18. In light of that fact, his career in the NBA felt preordained. Now, with the league’s lone Canadian team as its defending champion, Barrett visits Toronto for the first time as a pro. It’s been a wild couple of years.
And it could get wilder still. The Raptors are in the midst of a softer run to their schedule. As such, they’ve managed to rattle off four wins in a row — including a satisfying victory against the poseur Sixers. In that time, of course, they’ve been without their leader Kyle Lowry, their stalwart warrior Serge Ibaka, and rotation piece Patrick McCaw. If it feels like we’ve written this a few times over the past week, that’s because we have written it a few times over the past week. Despite injury, these Raptors are 12-4 and continue to surprise teams with their fearsome defensive identity and, quite frankly, their will to win. It’s been fun to watch.
Meanwhile, the Knicks — even with Barrett and his childhood prodigy status — look to be in for another brutal season. They’re already at 4-13 on the season, while also continuing to mismanage their roster and public perception all at the same time. To a certain extent, it sucks Barrett will have to waste a few years of his career there before he inevitably escapes, in one way or another, like every other talented player in New York over the past, hmmm, two decades. It’s not great.
But I digress. The Raptors are going for win number five in a row. The Knicks are looking for any kind of win. Here’s the full preview from John Gaudes, below are the updated game details. And now, let’s watch.
Where to Watch:
TSN, 7:30 PM ET
Toronto — Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
New York — RJ Barrett, Frank Ntilikina, Marcus Morris, Julius Randle, Taj Gibson
Toronto — Dewan Hernandez (out - thumb), Serge Ibaka (doubtful - ankle), Stanley Johnson (out - groin), Kyle Lowry (out - thumb), Patrick McCaw (out - knee), Matt Thomas (out - finger)
New York — Elfrid Payton (out - hamstring), Reggie Bullock (out - back) (Barrett, Kevin Knox, and Ntilikina are all listed as probable)