The Raptors, minus Rudy Gay, take another stab at winning the season series against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden tonight.
Start time: 7:30 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet One
Probable starting lineups:
Toronto: Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, DeMar DeRozan, Landry Fields, Jonas Valanciunas
New York: Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin
Toronto: Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay are out
New York: Tyson Chandler is doubtful. Amare Stoudemire, Kurt Thomas, Rasheed Wallace and Baron Davis are all out
- While it’s not necessarily game related, the biggest talking point of the night for Raptors fans is this Cathal Kelly tweet:
Dwane Casey said today Raptors will consider shutting Rudy Gay down for the year: “That’s something that will be talked about …”
— cathalkelly (@cathalkelly) March 23, 2013
- I thought we might hear something along these lines soon, considering that veterans with nagging pains on non playoff teams are usually prime candidates to be shut down early, but with extra losses meaning little for a team that will likely be without a draft pick anyway (unless they land a top-three pick), losing Gay for the remainder of the season would make already meaningless games that much worse. For what it’s worth, the Raps are currently four full games ahead of the Cavs, who hold the third-worst record in the league.
- I hope Landry Fields is assigned to guard Carmelo Anthony from the start and remains on him for the length of the game. As noted on Friday night, Fields has played Anthony well all season and was making him work again through three quarters, but for some reason, Anderson was given the defensive assignment for the fourth quarter even when Landry was on the floor. Unless ‘Melo is abusing Fields, which is unlikely, then Landry should be on him all game.
- Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas did a poor job of boxing out and containing Kenyon Martin last night, who exploded for 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Amir especially didn’t look like his usual energetic self. Perhaps it should have been expected, however, as in three games against the Knicks this season, Johnson is now averaging just seven points and about six rebounds in 26 minutes per game. If the Raptors have any chance of pulling off the upset tonight, they’ll need Amir to be better than that.
- With his ridiculously hot shooting night (specifically the third quarter) against the Knicks on Friday where he scored a career-high 35 points, and with a 26-point performance already under his belt at The Garden earlier this season, will Alan Anderson reach new levels of chucking tonight?
- They failed in their attempt last night at home, but the Raptors will once again be looking for their first season series win over the Knicks in the Post Bosh Era tonight. The two teams split the season series last year.
- No post-game thoughts tonight, so as usual, feel free to post your own thoughts, observations and ramblings in the comment section below.