When: 7:30 PM
Where: Madison Square Garden
Starting Lineups (Subject To Change)
SG: DeMar DeRozan
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: Amir Johnson
C: Jonas Valanciunas
PG: Raymond Felton
SG: Jason Kidd
SF: Iman Shumpert
PF: Carmelo Anthony
C: Tyson Chandler
Matthew Falkenbury, theKnicksBlog.com
The All-Star break is almost here and the Knicks have one more game before sending Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, James White and Steve Novak to Houston for the festivities.
The Toronto Raptors are in town tonight to take on the Knicks and have been through some changes that have really done them a lot of good recently.
The Raptors were apart of a three team deal with the Grizzlies and Pistons that saw them acquire Rudy Gay from Memphis and send Jose Calderon to Detroit. Since that trade, things have been better in Toronto. They are 6-6 in their last 12 and 3-2, with a three game winning streak, since Gay was acquired.
With Gay, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry in the lineup, the team speed for the Raptors has improved greatly and their offense has scored over 100 points in each of their wins during this winning streak.
With the Knicks seemingly having trouble with any team that has a knack for going up and down the floor with speed, this is a match up tonight that can be a bit of an issue.
With Raymond Felton on Lowry and Iman Shumpert to most likely start on Rudy Gay, you wonder how those two, who have struggled defensively since both returned from injury, will play tonight.
For the Knicks on offense, what could be a good match up for them is whomever is going to guard Carmelo Anthony. Gay and DeRozan are not strong enough to handle his post game and Amir Johnson should not be able to stay in front of Melo for long.
Plus after a horrible outing on Sunday, I want to see what the response from the bench guys, especially J.R. Smith and Steve Novak will be. The bench is such a key for the Knicks to keep the momentum going or build the momentum after the starters take their first break. There have been times this bench has been the reason the Knicks won games this year.
This is a game that normally the Knicks would be the easy favorite, especially since the game is at MSG and the Raptors are on the second game of a back to back while the Knicks had two days off.
But, the improvement by the Raptors since bringing in Gay and their overall speed, as mentioned above, could give the Knicks plenty of trouble tonight before they get some rest during the All-Star break.
We will see how it all unfolds and hope the Knicks can head into the break on a high note and finish off what can be described as a very successful first half of the season.
P.S. Once a Knick, Always a Knick Landry Fields returns to the Garden tonight after crossing the border to become the mastermind behind the theft of about 20 million dollars from the Raptors.
Five Questions About Tonight’s Game
- Will the Knicks be able to handle the Raptors team speed?
- How badly will Carmelo Anthony torch whomever the Raptors send to guard him?
- Which big man off the bench has a better game? Amar’e or Bargnani?
- Can the Knicks bench bounce back from a poor performance against the Clippers?
- Will either team play this game at a sub-par level since the All-Star break is up next?