1. The Knicks captured a much-needed home victory on Thursday night despite Kristaps Porzingis’ (sore left Achilles) absence. New York jumped to an 8-2 early lead and gained the necessary separation in the third quarter by outscoring the Bulls 22-14. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 23 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. Derrick Rose scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half, Kyle O’Quinn and Joakim Noah posted double-double performances, and Mindaugas Kuzminskas recorded a career-high 19 points in the win that pushed New York season series advantage over Chicago to 2-0.
2. Head coach Jeff Hornacek said he doesn’t expect Porzingis to play on Sunday afternoon in Toronto. Porzingis participated in warm-up type of activities early in Saturday’s practice session in New York but was held out of live action. The big man traveled with the team to Toronto and the medical staff will evaluate him prior to the 3 PM tipoff in Toronto.
3. The top team in offensive rating in the NBA? It’s not the Warriors, Rockets, Spurs, or Cavs. Toronto owns the top spot in this category with an offensive rating of 113.5. The Raptors average 111.2 points per game, shoot 47 percent from the floor, and are hitting 38.8 percent behind the arc this season. The prolific offensive numbers are even more impressive considering the Raptors rank No. 2 in team turnovers percentage and only commit 12.1 miscues per game. In the latest Eastern Conference standings, Toronto is 26-13 overall this season and 14-6 at home. The Raptors are second-best in the East, three games behind the defending champs a three-game road trip on the docket following Sunday’s contest against the Knicks.
4. On Friday night, the Raptors scored 132 points, the most in franchise history for a regulation game. Toronto connected on 53.6 percent from the floor and 39.3 percent behind the arc in capturing its second straight victory. All five players in the Raptors starting lineup registered double figures in points as DeMar DeRozan led the home team with 28 points.
5. The first meeting between the two teams took place on November 12 in Toronto. DeRozan was riding a hot streak to the start season and put together another 30-point night in leading the Raptors to a 118-107 victory. Despite the 11-point final margin, the contest was extremely competitive as it featured 27 lead changes. Anthony scored a team-high 31 points while Porzingis and Rose combined for 42 in the defeat.
by Jonah Ballow