Start time: 7:30 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet One
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Rasual Butler, Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson
New York: Toney Douglas, Landry Fields, Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler
Toronto: Jerryd Bayless is out with a sprained ankle.
New York: Amar’e Stoudemire is questionable with a sprained ankle, while Iman Shumpert, Jared Jeffries and Baron Davis are out.
The feeling I’ve had about the New York Knicks since they acquired Carmelo Anthony is that they thrive when they’re confident, but respond poorly to adversity. My reasons for feeling that way are complex, but the simplest way I can put it is that they don’t win when they’re not making their shots because they don’t have much else to fall back on.
If they were coming off a 20-point loss in their previous game, I’d think the Knicks might be ripe for an upset today. Since they’re coming off a 22-point victory over the Kings even though Amar’e Stoudemire wasn’t playing, they’re probably going to run the Raptors ragged on the Madison Square Garden court today.
The Knicks are an interesting matchup for the Raptors because I want to see if the way they held Dirk Nowitzki to 16 points on 7-for-16 scoring was a fluke. (Worth noting: Ian Mahimni led the Mavs with 19 points on 6-for-6 shooting an 7-for-11 efficiency from the line.) Do Casey’s defensive schemes lend themselves to limiting the productivity of elite scorers like Nowitzki and Carmelo Anthony? James Johnson seems like a guy who might have the strength and athleticism to not get totally dominated by ‘Melo.
In terms of the Raptors’ offensive firepower, I wouldn’t be shocked if we saw another 30-point outing from Andrea Bargnani today. He’s obviously “feeling it” right now, and there isn’t anyone on the Knicks’ defense who really matches up well against him — we can safely assume Tyson Chandler won’t be chasing him around the perimeter. Bargnani is like the ultimate anti-Knick, so I always enjoy when he has a great game against them simply because it infuriates Knicks fans. Ironically, Mike D’Antoni probably lusts after him more than any other NBA coach. In a nutshell, this is why D’Antoni is doomed to fail in New York.
- This may seem weird coming from a supposed Raptors fan, but I’m pretty excited about Baron Davis’ eventual debut with the Knicks. This isn’t some decrepit old man we’re talking about here — he’s still just 32 years old. He hasn’t been relevant since the 2007 playoffs, so I look forward to the possibility that a bunch of younger NBA fans will see glimpses of the old B-Diddy and recognize that he’s a top-five point guard when his fitness, mindset and motivation are all in place.
- If DeMarcus Cousins really did make a trade demand, then he’s basically sabotaging his NBA career before it’s truly begun. At this point, it’s a dead heat between Cousins and Beasley to see who will prove to be the biggest waste of talent due to mental issues.
Here’s Jeremy Hotz to provide tonight’s pre-game laugh. I know his style of comedy isn’t for everyone, but his affectations crack me up.