Than. One moment. A. Being. Alive.
The The New York Knicks they’ve won eight games in a row (I still can’t believe it), and on Wednesday night they’ll have a chance to make it to nine at home against the toronto raptors. Now, in terms of record, the Raptors look like an unimpressive team that the Knicks should easily take care of. But Toronto, despite having an incredibly disappointing season, still has the players, experience and coach to win a game against any team in the league. Although they have suffered losses against teams like the Hawks, Thunder, pacemakerThe Magic (twice) and Bulls have also played well against some of the best teams in the league. They beat a formidable Heat team and a good Cavaliers team late last month, fought to the finish against a very good celts team earlier this month, lost by just one to a much-improved Kings team last week, and lost to the Sixers at three on Monday. If the Knicks want to keep their winning streak alive, they’ll need to have the kind of selfless ball movement and disciplined defense they displayed last night en route to an upset victory against the Warriors.
After combining for just 37 points in a three-game skid two weeks ago, jalen brunson has been on a tear. In his past four games, the potential first-time All-Star is averaging 25.8PPG and 5.3APG on an efficient 49.3% from the field and a blistering 60.9% from 3. He’s also found a way to pack more of an impact on defense. as the shooting guard he has been playing very well on the passing lanes averaging 1.8SPG during that span.
will face Fred VanVleet (6’1”, 197 lb.), who is having his worst offensive season since the 19-20 season. VanVleet is in the midst of a hot streak (24.7PPG and 5.7APG on 42.5% from the field) but he’s also been pretty disappointing. On the season, the former All-Star is averaging just 18.7PPG on an abysmal 37.9% from the field.
This is where it gets interesting for a Knicks starting lineup that has been consistent throughout their current winning streak. It is currently reported that Quentin Grimes he is doubtful for tonight’s game due to the sprained ankle he suffered in the first half. Thibs has a few options to get the starting place, but I guess it will be Emmanuel Quickley getting the go-ahead. Quickley is coming off a great game in which he scored 22 points in 22 minutes on an efficient 6-10 shooting from the field and 5-6 from 3. If he can shoot like he did last night, he’ll provide the Knicks with enough defense and shooting to make up for it. the absence of Grimes.
Quentin Grimes is a doubt for tonight due to an ankle sprain, according to NYK
—Ian Begley (@IanBegley) December 21, 2022
The Raptors are also dealing with an injury at shooting guard as Gary Trent Jr. it is questionable with a quadruple injury. and Anunoby (6’7”, 232 lbs.), who is usually listed as a forward, should slide up and start the two tonight. A hot commodity in the league for his top-tier defense and his improved offense, Anunoby is enjoying the best season of his career so far averaging 18.7PPG, 5.8RPG and a league-leading 2.4SPG. league. In what could be a closely contested game, his defense and steals could be a different factor, so the Knicks will need to make sure they take care of the ball.
Starting against his hometown team will be rj barrett, who is averaging 19.6PPG on 41.1% shooting against the Raptors in his career. After getting off to an incredibly slow start, Barrett has picked it up of late, averaging 24 PPG on 46.5% shooting in his last six games. He is currently in the middle of a 1-11 slump in the center of the city, so I hope he can find his way again.
Barrett will go head-to-head with the standout sophomore scotch barnes (6’9”, 227 pounds). Barnes has taken a step back in the scoring department averaging 14.6PPG (15.3 last season) on 44.9% from the field (49.2% last season), but has increased his assist numbers to 4.6APG. Barnes’ numbers may not appeal to you, but the young striker is a very versatile player who defends at a very high level.
Julius Randle He achieved this win streak by averaging 31.3 PPG on 45.6% shooting between December 7-14. Since then, he’s come down to earth and has been relatively mediocre averaging 19.7 PPG on 40% from the field in his last three games. Randle is still having a very good bounce back season, not just offensively but in terms of body language, energy and even defense of late. Going into the second night in a row and Grimes is out, the Knicks may need Randle to get going again and have a big game.
In what should be one of the two big matchups to watch out for tonight (the other being the PG battle), Pascual I’m sorry (6’9”, 230 lbs.) will fight Randle. The seventh-year veteran is having a career year averaging 25PPG, 8.6RPG and 6.8APG, all of which are career highs for him. Even with the rest of the team struggling to find some form of consistency, Siakam has been a rock and a figure to be in the All-Star conversation going forward. Expect Siakam, who exploded for 38 points (one of three Raptors with double-digit points) in Monday’s loss to the Sixers, to continue to be aggressive in an effort to lead his team to victory.
mitchell robinson, who has been very good both as an offensive rebounder and as a defender since returning from injury, will continue to occupy the center for the Knicks. Expect Robinson, who is among the best offensive rebounders in the league (3rd in the league with 4.3ORPG), to have a big night against a Raptors team that ranks 19th in the league in rebounding.
The Raptors have recently started Juancho Hernangomez (6’9”, 214.) and he is small but it will be an interesting duel that in the end could be a game of chess between the coaches to see who tries to impose their strategy and style in the game. Will it be Hernangómez’s shots and spaces inside outside or Robinson and the Knicks can take advantage of the size advantage and punish the Raptors from below?
As stated above, this one won’t be as one-sided as the record suggests. The Raptors, despite being in a state of disarray and inconsistency, are still a very capable team with multiple champions. If the Knicks, who are into the second night in a row, get too arrogant and underestimate the Raptors, it could easily go wrong. Fortunately, this team, led by Thibodeau, Randle and Brunson, has been beating teams that they were supposed to beat of late. With Grimes gone, this won’t be as easy a game as the Warriors last night, but I have the Knicks winning an ugly game 103-98. Quickley continues his hot shots from last night, Barrett is back on track, and Randle goes toe to toe with Siakam, who is hoping to have another big game.