Knicks Head North for Matchup Against Atlantic Division Foe
1. After trailing by as much as 12 points in Wednesday’s contest against the Jazz, the Knicks erupted in the fourth quarter by outscoring Utah 29-19. Tim Hardaway Jr. ignited the run when he glided through the lane for the go-ahead bucket late in the period. Kristaps Porzingis delivered a 3-pointer to stretch the advantage and then Hardaway Jr. sunk the dagger with 49 seconds on the game clock. New York notched its seventh victory at Madison Square Garden while improving to 8-6 overall.
2. Hardaway Jr. is gaining momentum over his last five outings. In three of his last five games, Hardaway Jr. has posted at least 26 points and on Wednesday, the shooting guard reached the free throw line a season-high 10 times. Hardaway Jr. is averaging 20.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in his previous five games heading into tonight’s matchup against the formidable Raptors backcourt.
3. Enes Kanter is certainly making the most of his time on the floor. In 25.4 minutes per game, Kanter ranks No. 3 in the NBA in field goal percentage and offensive rebounds per game. He’s in the top 10 in defensive rebounds per game and tied for 15th in double-doubles.
4. The Knicks have racked up five comeback wins after trailing by double digits, which is tied for the most victories of that kind in the NBA, according to Elias Sports Bureau. New York ranks fourth in the league in points scored in the final period (27.6), trailing only Detroit, Brooklyn, and Cleveland. Porzingis is tied with LeBron James for most points per game in the fourth period at 8.6. The big man and Hardaway Jr. have combined to average 14.9 points during that crucial final stanza.
5. Toronto collected its second straight victory on Wednesday night with a 125-116 win over the Pelicans. The Raptors have now combined to score 254 points in their last two contests. With the win on Wednesday, Toronto moved to 9-5 overall, one game ahead of the Knicks and Sixers in the Atlantic Division standings. The Raptors are a dangerous offensive team as they rank No. 3 in the NBA in offensive rating and feature DeMar DeRozan (24.9 PPG) and Kyle Lowry (7.0 APG) in the backcourt. New York must take care of the rock tonight, considering Toronto is the top team in the league in points off of turnovers.