Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Amir Johnson, Aaron Gray
New York: Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, Bill Walker, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler
Toronto: Jerryd Bayless is doubtful for today’s game, while Andrea Bargnani is out.
New York: Carmelo Anthony is doubtful for tonight, while Baron Davis is expected to return later this month.
Tonight’s game seems to be kind of a big deal for local basketball media. Is it because Amar’e Stoudemire is returning to the Knicks’ lineup? That must be it.
OK, I’ll cut the charade. Jeremy Lin has made his grand arrival right on the heels of his Sports Illustrated cover story. Toronto’s Asian community is expected to be out in force at the Air Canada Centre tonight, and the atmosphere should be Linectric. (Sorry.) Our man Joseph Casciaro is going to be there, so while his recap probably won’t be up until tomorrow morning, I expect he’ll include details of his experience.
Stoudemire’s return isn’t irrelevant, of course, because every NBA fan wants to see if he’ll be as unstoppable on the pick-and-roll with Lin as he was with Nash. If they click immediately, Amar’e could score 30-plus tonight while Lin registers a double-double. It’s worth remembering that the Knicks are riding a five-game win streak, so a loss to the Raptors on Stoudemire’s first game back will raise some pressing questions about the direction of that team.
The Lin vs. Calderon matchup is obviously going to be the focus of most Raptors fans, and it might be a little weird for the Raptors if a large portion of the ACC crowd is rooting for Lin instead of the hometown team. Maybe Lin will finish with 30 and 10 while the Raptors squeak out a last-second victory — then pretty much everyone in the arena can leave happy.
- I picked up Lin off my fantasy league waivers right after his first great game. Yesterday, I traded him for Josh Smith. The other GMs in my league are outraged and may try to block the trade. Linsanity has varying symptoms.
- When Chris Bosh was asked why he thinks he didn’t get voted into the NBA All-Star game by fans, he replied, “I’m not a popular guy, I guess. I don’t think I am. I don’t appeal to the popular crowd.” That quote inspired this funny video by Deborah Etta Robinson and Kye Fox: