The Toronto Raptors appear to be fraying at the seams.
Through a humiliating loss (turned inspiring comeback turned humiliating loss) to Milwaukee on Wednesday, the Raptors are in the midst of a week where their franchise point guard is quietly seething in the media about his usage rate and trade rumors are burbling to the surface. If Toronto has already reached the point of no return with their season (there’s still reason to think they haven’t, given the strength of schedule the rest of the way), the signs of unrest are at least showing.
Cue the New York Knicks. One of just a few inspiring wins since the Raptors slide began in early December, Toronto beat the Knicks before Christmas 113-106. The game featured a resounding 52 points for Pascal Siakam — a career-high — as he dismantled a vaunted New York defense to score at will. Quietly, it was also one of a few outstanding games for Fred VanVleet too, the subject of so much consternation this week. He had 28 points in that game.
Can they repeat that success tonight? We can at least say that the Raptors are healthy, healthier than they have been pretty much all season. The team is finally able to roll out the best five lineup that, in theory, gives them the offensive spark that’s been so sorely lacking.
One major obstacle standing in their way on the other end is Jalen Brunson, who’s coming off a 38-point performance on Wednesday against the Suns and has shot 52% or better from the field in two of the last three games. Without RJ Barrett in the lineup, it’s been the Brunson show more often than not for the Knicks. We’ll see if the Raptors can muster a response tonight.
Here’s the rest of the game details.
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet, 7:30 PM ET
Toronto Raptors – Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam
New York Knicks – Jalen Brunson, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson
Toronto Raptors – Otto Porter Jr. (toe – out)
New York Knicks – RJ Barrett (finger – out)