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New York Knicks v Toronto Raptors Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks — Start Time, Lineups, Injuries and More

This game is not just a random one between the New York Knicks and the Toronto Raptors in the middle of winter. Just ask RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and O.G. Anunoby.

The Toronto Raptors make their last visit to the Big Apple this season to face the new-look New York Knicks. It’s a new look for both teams to the point where this game will feel like it’s the first time they’re playing against each other this season.

Both teams — coaches included, appear satisfied with the O.G. Anunoby for RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley swap, as the incoming players fit the coaching style of their new teams. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau must be smiling non-stop since the trade, having a versatile premier defender that can cover the shortcomings of his key players. Coach Darko Rajakovic, on the other hand, obtained two excellent players who fit the playing style he was trying to implement to very little success.

This game marks the first time the Raptors will face O.G. Anunoby. We know that, barring foul trouble, coach Thibodeau will play him as close to 48 minutes as possible. The most interesting storyline involving Anunoby is who will be his defensive assignment for tonight’s game. It’s most likely Scottie Barnes, and all eyes will be on that matchup on every possession. However, Barnes seems to be not bothered by the matchup:

Barrett and Quickley will be making their first NYC appearance wearing a different uniform, and expect those two to play with extra pep on their step. It wasn’t a secret how the combination of three lefties and a 90s throwback offense made Barrett the odd man out in New York, but coach Rajakovic’s everybody eats offense has revitalized Barrett’s play since the trade. Perhaps the most mind-boggling part of this trade was the Knicks giving up on Quickley, but it’s not like this is the Knicks’ first head-scratching move.

Of course, at least during the warmups, we will also see the pillars of Rajakovic’s bench mob in Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn. Flynn hasn’t been getting the same love from coach Thibodeau, while Achiuwa’s trying his best to play himself out of the rotation.

Life without Anunoby’s been wonky at best defensively, and with No Jakob Poeltl, the Raptors will be tested from the point of attack and in the paint. Jontay Porter will need to do a better job staying out of foul trouble, and otherwise, Thaddeus Young’s got to put WD-40 on those joints for tonight’s game. Also, Markquis Nowell played for the Raptors 905 earlier today and went down with a hamstring injury.

On the Knicks’ end, Michell Robinson is out for the season, while Josh Hart is questionable for tonight’s game due to a knee issue. Hart missed their previous game against the Washington Wizards, but since it’s the Wizards, it could very well be a load management game for him. But if you would ask coach Thibodeau, Hart should play:

It’s a small sample size, but Scottie Barnes responded well as the franchise’s new face after the Pascal Siakam trade. He’s averaging 25.5 points in two games, but the additional usage also led to some erratic plays, averaging 5.5 turnovers in that span. It’s a period of adjustment for everybody, including Barnes, but at least he’s not shrinking away from the challenge. However, with Anunoby likely facing him, he’ll need to take better care of the ball.

Newly acquired Bruce Brown had an excellent debut the other night against the Chicago Bulls, registering 15 points and seven boards on 7-for-10 shooting. He’s one of those players that fit coach Rajakovic’s style of play and is a great complementary fit to someone like Barnes.

The Raptors could use a win tonight, as they sit ten games below .500, 2.5 games out of the last play-in spot. Despite being in many games recently, they have lost five of their previous six games, with several coming up against the teams they need to leapfrog in the standings.

How to Watch

7:30pm ET on TSN

Starting Lineups:

Toronto: Scottie Barnes, Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett, Jontay Porter, Gary Trent Jr.

New York: Jalen Brunson, O.G. Anunoby, Julius Randle, Isaiah Hartenstein, Donte Divincenzo

Injuries:

Toronto: Javon Freeman-Liberty (Out; G-League, Two-way), Kira Lewis Jr. (Out; G-League, On Assignment), Markquis Nowell (Out; G-League, Two-way), Jakob Poeltl (Out; Ankle sprain), Otto Porter Jr. (Questionable; Right knee sprain)

New York: Mitchell Robinson (Out; Ankle), Josh Hart (Questionable; Knee)

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