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Game Preview: Knicks at Raptors, 12/31/2020

In Tampa Bay!

New York Knicks’ guard Charlie Ward (middle) is sa Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images

So far this season the Raptors have been playing like the Knicks. Not this year’s Knicks, but the Knicks that were so easy to LOL at all these years. They are a playoff favorite out here in the East but so far have neglected to win any of their games. Perhaps the Raps playing in Tampa Bay is taking a toll. The warm weather is keeping them too fat, too sassy. They need the cold, the friction of Toronto.

Is it possible that could continue? Are the Raptors the Knicks and the Knicks turning into the Raptors? Did Julius Randle sap Pascal Siakam’s spice? Tune in to find out.

Projected Starters

Elfrid Payton vs. Kyle Lowry

Reggie Bullock vs. Fred VanVleet

RJ Barrett vs. OG Anunoby

Julius Randle vs. Pascal Siakam

Mitchell Robinson vs. Aron Baynes

The Knicks depth is starting to become a little bit of an issue. Thankfully nothing seems to be too serious but it’s a mini-concern this early in the season.

If this were somehow a critical game, I’d imagine several of these guys would be available. What’s that? Is that Austin Rivers’ music?

It is! Yet to play 5-on-5 is an interesting-worrying tidbit. So does that mean some of these players are really in rough shape and the Knicks are pushing Rivers into action ahead of schedule? Or are they throwing caution to the wind because Rivers is the lowest paid guard in the group? Or maybe they’re just being overly cautious in an effort to keep everyone as healthy as possible during this constricted season and they just didn’t have enough bodies to get Austin the reps. Whatever the case may be, he’s playing!

Keys & Predictions

With Rivers pressed into action and a Kevin Knox homecoming, them Florida boys will feel good and loose in their home state. The first couple shots will be way off. I mean violently off. They’ll get a rhythm going after the big hiccups because Thibs guys play through mistakes. Despite limited minutes from both they’ll spur a tremendous swing at the end of the third and rolling into the fourth.

Definitely looking forward to MVP candidate, Julius Randle taking on non-MVP candidate Pascal Siakam. Also very curious to see how Mitchell Robinson works with beefy boy, Aron Baynes. Robinson has struggled with the big and agile. Baynes certainly bangs but he still does a lot of work further out on the perimeter than say Andre Drummond. I’d say that’s because Baynes is a better player... but that’s neither here nor there.

Unfortunately the Knicks are not allowed to be perceived as winners. Not yet.

Knicks by -14.

Warm Up Music

Screw the Gregorian calendar. The damn thing is like 4,000 years behind the times. The end of 2020 isn’t a conclusion to the issues. You’ve been hoodwinked!