Toronto Raptors look for home cooking against Knicks


Slow down everyone, it was only one game and a fourth quarter in Florida. It happens to everyone. Although the Orlando game was an Evan Fournier strip away from a win, the Miami Heat game was a blown tire. They say there will be 10 games you will win and 10 games you will lose every year, no matter what. That last one is in the latter column.

The Toronto Raptors defence has been fine so far this year, the offense on the other hand is sputtering lately. It’s still so early and we will just have to wait for it to pick up throughout the early going. Hopefully the home court can heat up those chilly hands.

Nov 8, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) grabs the loose ball with Los Angeles Lakers small forward Kobe Bryant (24) during the 4th qtr at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: The Knicks won 99-95. Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks have been actually been competitive this season, winning 3 of their 7 games so far. The Raptors own the less favourable draft pick between the Denver Nuggets and the Knicks, so it is important to win every one of these games. The Knicks also have my new favourite player in Kristaps Porzingis, so this will be the most exciting Raptors/Knicks game in a while for me.

The Knicks have been a middling statistical team in seven games, not too much defence and not too much offence, but they do have Carmelo Anthony, who can always be a problem. Anthony has been shooting the ball at 37% this season but that can change in any game. The team has more depth and athleticism this year and their youth movement is ahead of schedule.

Three keys to victory

Lock down Carmelo Anthony

It is safe to assume DeMarre Carroll will not play in this game. Plantar fasciitis is no joke and as much as he wants to go, he should not. The main cover for Anthony will now be the likes of James Johnson, Patrick Patterson, and Luis Scola just to name a few. It will need to be a team effort to keep him off the schneid.

More from Raptors Rapture

Less iso, more ball movement

The Raptors still remain in the bottom 5 of assist percentage. The coaching staff preaches ball movement, but iso players like DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have the highest usage rates on the team, and they prefer to work alone. They can be effective but other players need the ball too.

Sense of urgency 

I mentioned the draft pick and the important of keeping the Knicks down, but also the Raptors need this one to find their groove. The Knicks are a beatable team with many holes (their triangle offence is a square) and rely on their youth to spark plug their game. The Raptors should be able to take it easily if they focus.

Key Players

Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis, the 7’3 rookie that excels with every game, also, my favourite player.

Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas, give this man the ball more! He will have an advantage against Robin Lopez and their front line.

Next: Raptors 905 lose first game

I expect the Raptors to pull this one out with a final score of 96-87. Terrence Ross finally scores and Jose Calderon gets a round of applause.