Boy, what a difference a week makes.
Last Monday, Knicks fans were excited about the prospect of taking on the Bucks in the In-Season Tournament knockout round after defeating the Raptors in emphatic fashion to extend their winning streak to three. Fast forward to today, and the vibes and emotions surrounding the team certainly feels a tad different. New York went into Milwaukee and got thrashed from three en route to a 146-122 defeat and then traveled to Boston where they were somewhat easily dismantled by a Boston team that showed why they are considered one of the championship favorites this season.
Interestingly enough though, as is often the case with things pertaining to these Knicks, the fans seem pretty split on how much, or how little, to panic and worry following the past week.
There’s a very vocal portion of the fanbase that are running around with their hair on fire and calling for firings and trades. I guess I don’t fully blame them--if you came into the season believing that the Knicks were in, or at least close to being in, the inner circle of teams considered true contenders, then the last two games are sure to have been disappointing.
Then, there’s the part of the fanbase that thought that this would be a very good and competitive team that ultimately lacked the top-end elite star power and roster makeup to be, or at least beat, an elite team consistently. That group, which I’m admittedly a part of, likely weren’t too discouraged by the past week. Sure, the games were frustrating to watch, but I’d be lying if I sat here and said that the results were surprising. Because let’s be honest. As inconsistent as the Knicks may be at times, one thing they’ve proven to us time and time again this season is that they just aren’t capable of beating the best teams in the league right now.
Luckily for the Knicks and their fans, they get to play a team that isn’t a top-five team in the league as they host the 9-13 Raptors, who like the Knicks, are in the midst of a losing streak.
Since losing to the Knicks over a week ago, Toronto has played two games. The first of those was against a Miami Heat team that was without their star center, Bam Adebayo, and the Raptors managed to stick around and kept it competitive but ultimately fell short as they managed to score just 37 points in the second half. Two nights later, they traveled to Charlotte to take on a Hornets squad that was without their star point guard, LaMelo Ball. They fell behind early, losing the first quarter 35-22 and were never able to recover from that despite outscoring the Hornets 39-29 in the fourth quarter.
- Dennis Schroder G
- OG Anunoby G
- Scottie Barnes F
- Pascal Siakam F
- Jakob Poeltl C
New York Knicks
- Jalen Brunson G
- Donte DiVincenzo G
- RJ Barrett F
- Julius Randle F
- Isaiah Hartenstein C
The Raptors are in the middle of a three-game losing skid so I expect them to put up a fight as they often do against the Knicks. And with Brunson hobbled, and Robinson ruled out, New York will have a tough test ahead of them tonight.
That being said, these Raptors just lost to the Heat without Adebayo and the Hornets without Ball, and the Knicks, coming off a tough week, should be as motivated and hungry as they have been all season.
I expect Randle, who outside of the Boston game has been good as of late, and Barrett, who had some big games against the Raptors last season, to have good performances. Also, keep an eye on DiVincenzo, who exploded for 21 points when these two teams last met, and Grimes, who looked really aggressive against the Celtics, as well. Knicks win 115-109.
Who: New York Knicks vs Toronto Raptors
When: 7:30 pm EST, Monday, Dec. 11
Where: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC
Watch: MSG Network, TSN