Knicks Fall To NBA’s Hottest Team
Raptors take care of depleted Knicks
Leading up to the 8pm tip off, Knicks fans knew that this would be another Melo-less effort, this time on the road against one of the best teams in the NBA, the Toronto Raptors. The Knicks already boast a 0–5 record without their star forward Carmelo Anthony in the lineup.
Before game-time, we were surprised with the injury report.
Unexpectedly, but not to the dismay of many, we learned that Jose Calderon was out. Then in the hour leading up to the game, the bomb drops. For the first time this year the Knicks were without their stud rookie Kristaps Porzingis due to a respiratory infection, basically a cold which for some reason I thought professional athletes were immune to.
With all of that being said, the Knicks team that was assembled by Derrick Fisher to take on the Atlantic Division leading Toronto Raptors (who have won 9 straight)- was a resilient bunch that didn’t give up without a fight.
The Knicks took a 6 point lead in the first quarter, and made numerous runs late in the gambut didn’t take the lead in the game again. The Raptors out-rebounded the Knicks 50–40 and the pace of the game quickly changed after the Raptors adjusted to the Knicks hot start.
Aaron Afflalo was clearly the player of the game, for a Knicks team that needed him to step up. Afflalo started the night 5/9 with two beautiful and-1's and a three pointer. After a shaky fourth quarter he ended up going a me 7/17 and although shooting 3/3 from downtown.
The lack of consistency down the stretch when the Knicks needed a big shot was again an issue.
Another player that stepped up in the nationally televised game vs. the Raptors, was Langston Galloway. Galloway, who has been shooting over 55% from the field over the last 5 games, proved that he’s improving each game, and that his athleticism coupled with good shooting is a key to success. Galloway was an efficient 6/10 from the field and had a few beautiful transition plays early in the game, which the Knicks really needed at the time.
In a game where the Knicks were hoping that Kyle Lowry was out because of his ailing wrist, he played 41 minutes and almost dropped a triple- double (21,10 and 6) on 8/16 shooting.
The Knicks were forced to deal with a full strength Raptors team and had to play with no mistakes, just to stick with them. The Knicks only turned the ball over 9 times all game, but they didn’t help themselves by shooting under 40% from 3-point land, getting out-rebounded and only shooting 50% from the stripe (10/20).
Jerian Grant, Sasha Vujacic, Kyle O’Quinn and Lou Amundson all had larger roles in this game because of the injuries to the stars. The abysmal shooting of O’Quinn from close range has been increasingly concerning, as the big man went 4/13 from the field. Vujacic and Grant both had very efficient games shooting the ball, and were a big reason that the Knicks were in the game throughout the 4th quarter.
Although there were some bright spots in this nationally televised divisional matchup, the Knicks truly needed their star players to have a chance. 10- straight wins for the Raptors is a franchise record, and the Knicks are now staring at 4- straight losses and a trip home from Toronto to play a back-to-back against an uptempo Western Conference team- let’s hope and pray that Carmelo and Kristaps can play or this could be another tough matchup.