5 Things to Know: New-Look Raptors Make Their First Trip to MSG This Season
1. The Knicks successfully staved off another rally from the Sixers that mirrored the comeback they completed in January. However, the result reversed on Saturday in New York’s favor behind a clutch, game-winning jumper from Carmelo Anthony to lift the home team to a 110-109 win. Anthony scored 17 of his game-high 37 points in the first quarter as part of an explosive performance that included a 60 percent shooting clip from the floor. The Knicks evened the season series against the Sixers and improved to 24-35 on the season, four games back from the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
2. Kristaps Porzingis was forced to leave Thursday’s game with a sprained ankle that was suffered late in the second quarter. X-rays were not taken following the contest and it’s strictly considered a sprained ankle. The big man missed Saturday’s game against Philadelphia and his availability is in question for tonight as he is listed as day-to-day. Joakim Noah is out tonight.
3. New York’s front office made a roster this morning by waiving back-up point guard Brandon Jennings and signing Chasson Randle. In October, Randle participated in the Knicks training camp and part of the preseason. The former Stanford standout also played for the Westchester Knicks and Sixers before receiving the call from New York. In three preseason games, Randle connected on 4-of-9 shots from the arc and combined to score 23 points.
4. Toronto was aggressive prior to the trade deadline in its pursuit of knocking off the prohibitive favorite to win the East, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Raptors shipped Terrence Ross and a first-round draft pick in exchange for Serge Ibaka. Additionally, Toronto acquired P.J. Tucker from Phoenix for Jared Sullinger and two second-round picks. The Raptors are 2-0 since the deal along with a 35-24 overall mark that is the fourth-best in the latest Eastern Conference standings. Toronto’s All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry has been sidelined for two straight games with a wrist injury. He is considered day-to-day. Corey Joseph is the likely starter at the point guard position if Lowry is unable to suit up tonight at MSG.
5. Tonight marks the third meeting of the season between the two teams. Toronto defeated New York in the first matchup, 118-107 and topped the Knicks once again in Toronto 116-101 on January 15. Tonight is the first time the Raptors have traveled to New York to square off against the Knicks this year.
by Jonah Ballow