Don’t even lie, you all probably didn’t watch a second of Toronto’s 132-113 beatdown of the Nets Friday night. But also don’t deny the fact that you looked something like this when you saw the result:
me thinking about this a month later and remembering this sport is dumb pic.twitter.com/SpaLQZdLSX— HAPPY MOO YEAR (@edsbs) December 4, 2016
If not, well then we just can’t be friends, can we?
Anyways, New York will be in Toronto this afternoon (3 PM) to play the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors. The Knicks will probably also do so without Kristaps Porzingis, who is still dealing with the same leg injury that kept him out of Thursday night’s game against the Bulls.
Joe put the chances of Kristaps not playing, at this point, at “roughly 130%,” which I definitely think is on the modest end. I believe a more appropriate estimation would have been 132% because lolnets.
Considering New York is still in a position to push for a playoff spot, being without your best player in a game you probably need to win is sub-optimal, to say the least. But, as we alluded to in the recap of the Bulls game, being without Kristaps (for what is hopefully not an extended period of time) will give us an insight on how Jeff Hornacek plans to allocate his resources to replace him. Against the Bulls, it was a nice Kuzminskas/O’Quinn combination. It wasn’t Kristaps, but it worked and that’s what counts right now.
The Raptors own one of the NBA’s better offenses, and the Knicks got a glimpse of that first-hand when the two teams played on November 13th. 31 points for Melo, 21 for Porzingis and 18 rebounds for Noah weren't enough to even really come close to winning that game. Toronto, on the other hand, does not have a very good defense. That might mean another offensive explosion from Kuzminskas which we should all absolutely be looking forward to.
But that brings me to my next point; Knicks fans, we have to come to terms with the fact that Joakim Noah might, indeed, be the most important Knick the rest of the way.
P&T-er Allknickseverything wrote a wonderful fanpost arguing the point, and he isn’t wrong about it by any means. Aside from Noah’s improved play offensively over the last few games, he has always been a great defensive player, and the Knicks will need to see the Jo of old moving forward. In a game against a top-5 offense, and without your best rim protector in Porzingis, the kid from Hell’s Kitchen has to play a huge role.
Hopefully O’Quinn and Noah can deal with the Raptors’ combination of Valanciunas and Nogueira in the post. Lowry and DeRozan will get their points, but limiting points in the paint could be the key to a BIG New York win.
Joakim Noah on his play: "There's another level that I want to get to... I've just got to keep pushing." https://t.co/3S5gZ0mLHN— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) January 14, 2017
If Noah can successfully anchor the defense, and the Knicks can get another good performance out of Rose, they might have a chance against Toronto. If not, it’ll be another rough day.
Either way, this is an important one for New York. A win over a team like Toronto would be huge for the team’s confidence, and would be a positive end to an otherwise turbulent week.