The Raptors look to extend their winning streak to four games as they invade Madison Square Garden to open their season series against the Atlantic Division rival Knicks.
Start time: 7:30 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas
New York: Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler
Toronto: Linas Kleiza is out
New York: Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace and Baron Davis are out
- The Raptors actually split the season-series with the Knicks last year, which included an early season win at Madison Square Garden, and most of the matchups between these two teams produce some tight contests, so while New York should be the favourites tonight, I don’t expect a rout by any means.
- Since Iman Shumpert’s return to the lineup, the Knicks have been playing some ridiculous small-ball that basically sees them start three point guards with Anthony and Chandler. Will we see the Raptors try to match up by playing Kyle Lowry and John Lucas III together for extended stretches, or will Dwane Casey stick with his regular rotation and try to force the Knicks to adjust?
- A couple of matchups I’m really looking forward to watching are Gay vs. Anthony and Valanciunas vs. Chandler. Rudy and Carmelo are similar players, and the matchup may very well be decided by who decides to take the defensive challenge personally. As for JV, Tyson Chandler was one of the most oft-referenced comparisons for the young Lithuanian big man, and I’d like to see how Valanciunas goes about trying to score inside on one of the game’s premier interior defenders. For my money, Chandler is one of the most underrated players in the league, as you could make the argument he’s the best centre in the league right now (with Dwight Howard struggling and Andrew Bynum out) and the most important player for this Knicks team.
- Andrea Bargnani looked awful last night while playing through the flu, but some of his best performances have come at MSG, including his career-high 41-point performance in 2010. Overall in his last eight games at Madison Square Garden, Bargnani is averaging 18 points on 46 per cent shooting, and that includes two games of two points and zero points.