The Knicks (4-8) take a quick jaunt across the border to mount up against the Raptors (11-1). Toronto has won their last five games, including a four game road trip. Neither team has played since Wednesday.
The Raptors, aside from having the best record in the league, play an assertive togetherness that is tough to come by. Kawhi Leonard is looking like he will get back to old self by season’s end. He’s already decimating opponents on both ends. Meanwhile Kyle Lowry is having a career year. Check this out from Reddit user caboose979:
Well, damn. Am I right?
Obviously Leonard and Lowry ain’t about to just roll over. They’ll get theirs and I feel bad for whoever they guard. Strangely enough, Lowry’s pesky and pokey jolts of defensive pressure may bring out the best in Ntilikina. Make him play more off of instinct and less off the playbook.
The big key today may just be all the big guys. The Raptors play the matchups with their big rotation, but Jonas Valanciunas does look like he’ll be their first big off the bench more often than not. Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka are shooting ridiculously well in the paint, 71% and 67% respectively. It will be interesting to see if the Knicks can stunt the drives and and keep them from charging the goal. Siakam in particular has a penchant for getting to the rim with quicks and bunnies. Ibaka just slides into the open space and has a nice package of turners and flippers. Noah Vonleh will have to do everything he can to avoid foul trouble. With any luck, the Raptor bigs will only look at the Knicks’ record and play too casually. If that’s the case this could be a big game for Mitchell Robinson.
Send ‘em packing, Money!
Oh it’s gonna be a bloodbath. Ntilikina will be scary enough to make Kyle Lowry think twice about some drive and kicks. Hopefully it will produce some turnovers. Once Mudiay gets in though, Lowry will let loose. Heaven forbid Trey Burke plays. Kawhi will suffocate people the way Frank does but will offer no words of wisdom to the young Knick. Leonard will just stalk and feast.
Ibaka will eat all of Kanter’s unwillingness to defend out to the top of the key. Jonas Valanciunas refuses to jump or juke and drops the core temperature on Kanter’s post ups.
Knicks by -34.
Toronto, jump on it! Kawhi and Lowry, jump on it! Canada put a lot of you blips on the map. No seriously— this song was grafted from our neighbors to the North. Canada keeps on making it and the States keep on taking it.
Crie au Le Rap-à-Billy.