Early winter matchups between the Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks have delivered over the years. Whether it swung New York’s way in a 41-10 run third quarter that erased a sure win in 2017, or the Raptors way in a Gary Trent Jr. showcase in 2021 — there’s been entertainment to be had under the theater lights of Madison Square Garden.
Today, though, we get Raptors-Knicks circumstances we’ve rarely seen over the past ten years. The Knicks are surging — not just a bit, but to the tune of eight straight wins. They’re playing some of the best defense in the league (when have we ever heard that before?) Their young players are actually living up to expectations in a ruthless media market.
And those rock steady Raptors? The team that’s always come into New York and managed to either embarrass the Knicks or at least look more composed in a competitive game? The wheels are close to falling off.
Six straight losses haven’t all been terrible (the team was two open Fred VanVleet threes from beating the Sixers on Monday), but the general attitude around the team is... despondent. The Raptors desperately need a win, any sort of win, and playing the Knicks used to provide that “get right” game on the schedule. Not so these days. This will be a tough one.
News from the injury report? Khem Birch has come down with a non-COVID illness and will be out tonight, a big loss against one of the more ferocious offensive rebounders in the league in Mitchell Robinson. Gary Trent Jr. is also still out with quad soreness.
Khem Birch (illness) and Gary Trent Jr. (quad) are both out vs. Knicks.— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) December 21, 2022
Now, let’s get set with the rest of the game details.
Where to Watch:
TSN, 7:30 PM ET
Toronto Raptors – Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Juancho Hernangomez
New York Knicks – Jalen Brunson, Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson
Toronto Raptors – Khem Birch (non-COVID illness – out), Gary Trent Jr. (quad – out), Precious Achiuwa (ankle – out), Otto Porter Jr. (foot – out)
New York Knicks – Quentin Grimes (ankle – out), Obi Toppin (knee – out)