On Sunday, the New York Knicks (25-22) head to Scotiabank Arena for a rematch with the Toronto Raptors (20-26). The Knicks would love to avenge their Martin Luther King Jr. Day overtime loss to the Raptors. Life without Mitchell Robinson is tough, though, as the Knicks learned in their Friday loss to Atlanta. At least the Raptors are playing the second of a back-to-back, lost yesterday, and, according to the injury report, will be without OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet.
Currently sitting eleventh in the Eastern Conference, the Raptors have had three of their last four games decided by two points, including that B.S. 123-121 win at MSG. The Canadian Club leads the season series 2-1 and won the last matchup. Both teams have lost consecutive games, with the Knicks dropping three and Raptors two.
Maybe we’ll see some small ball? Eh? Tip-off’s at 6 p.m., EST, Spielbergians.
With VanVleet out, Toronto spreads the ballhandling duties around. They were lively passers against the Celtics yesterday, and head coach Nick Nurse rolled out Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes, and Anunoby in the starting five. Without Anunoby tonight, who’s next? Maybe Malachi Flynn? Whoever starts will face a trio of Jalen Brunson, Quentin Grimes, and RJ Barrett.
In the frontcourt for Toronto, Precious Achiuwa (6’8”, 225 lb.) and Pascal Siakam (6’9”, 230 lb.) will clash with New York’s Julius Randle and Jericho Sims, presumably. Siakam, particularly, is a pest and has averaged 30 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists in three games against the Knicks this season.
The Knicks haven’t matched up well against Toronto in the previous three games. One wonders if Cam Reddish might be helpful against these rangy Raptors, but it’s verboten to suggest that he play because the front office doesn’t want their top trade chip damaged. Such is business.
Toronto makes me nervous. Even without VanVleet, and missing O.G. for part of the game, the Raptors hung with Boston until the end. Still, Jalen and the Knicks are hungry for a win, it’s the weekend, and I’m trying to be more positive in 2023. Knicks by deuce (but not by McBride.)
Toronto, Canuckland. 6:00 p.m., EST. Go Knicks, eh!