Knicks sapped by Raptors, lose fourth straight, 103–93
An injured Knicks team could not keep up with Toronto and its All-Star guard tandem
Shortly before Thursday night’s game, we learned the Knicks would be playing Toronto without their own All-Star, Carmelo Anthony.
DeMar DeRozan was announced as a reserve All-Star for the East prior to the game, joining his backcourt teammate Kyle Lowry. Without a prayer, New York could not stop either of the crowned All-Stars. And without their All-Star, they couldn’t score or keep up with the Drakes.
New York’s lack of depth has been visibly exposed. The ‘Bockers have lost every game which Anthony has sat (0–6).
Left in the dust by the Atlantic Division leaders, the Knicks need to win four out of their remaining seven games to return to .500 before the All-Star break.
Let’s look at what went wrong with the injured Knicks:
The Knicks were only playing with 13 players on the roster before Anthony, Porzingis, and Calderon were ruled out for separate injuries. Tonight was the rookie’s first missed game. His durability is encouraging.
So, the same day that New York reported will sign Greek Freak brother and D-League member Thansis Antetokounmpo, the Knicks heavily relied on players like Kyle O’Quinn, Kevin Seraphin, and even Sasha Vujacic against Toronto.
Some of those guys are relatively okay to have on your roster at the very end, but the bench, who predominantly composed Fisher’s available rotations tonight, is really weak. The Knicks do not have playmakers or any scoring options to fall back on without their starters. Not to mention the porous defense. Against the Thunder, New York gave up 61 first half points. In Toronto, the Raptors dashed towards the basket, forced nine turnovers, and blocked 11 field goal attempts.
There was one stretch between the second and third quarters that served as a glimmer of hope that the Knicks could comeback in this game. The Raptors missed 20 of their last 21 shots, only scoring on free throws, and the Knicks were down three halfway through the third period.
They fell flat on their faces again and without a reliable scorer in ‘Melo, or rim protector like Porzingis, mistakes were exposed and capitalized upon by Toronto. The Raptors won their tenth consecutive game, preventing a loss since January 5, and streaking their way to a franchise record.
Unsurprisingly, however, Langston Galloway played quite well in place of the starting point guard Calderon. With hustle, smart play, and dribble-drive penetration, Galloway kept Knicks fans engaged in this match. Since his early days as a D-League call up, we’ve watched him grow into a confident and intelligent ballplayer.
Galloway finished the match with 12 points, four boards, and a pair of dimes.
Jerian Grant, on the other hand, did not play a special game after a nice performance on Tuesday. Shooting 4-for-8, Grant did not have a feel for the game, struggled through growing pains for most of the night, and could not keep or with Cory Joseph nor Lowry. The latter scored 26 points while dishing out 10 assists. DeRozan finished with 26 points as well.
Yeah, this guy made an appearance. Not even a cameo, more like a supporting role. Most of it was not pretty. Vujacic scored 13 points.
Derrick Williams seemed posed to have another breakout game without Carmelo playing, but he could not find his shot either. D-Will shot 3-for-12 on his way to six points. He did not make any appearances at the charity stripe.
Finally, O’Quinn took plenty of shots. He doesn’t have any post moves really, so it’s difficult to watch him meander in the post with no established goal. O’Quinn finished with eight points on 4-of-13 shooting.
An expectedly ugly game from the Knicks. I’m looking forward to see if there is any fruition in Jeff Teague trade or, more reasonably, the Knicks find help from their D-League affiliate in Westchester (or on the waiver wire).