By: Josh Weinstein
After a day off, the Toronto Raptors (9-5) return home to Air Canada Centre to host Kristaps Porzingis and the New York Knicks (8-6) at 7:30 PM ET.
Since Carmelo Anthony’s offseason departure, Porzingis has been a man on a mission, changing the vibe around the Knicks from mediocrity to respectability. The 7’3” unicorn has averaged 28.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 13 games this season and will be a massive challenge for Toronto’s defence to neutralize.
The Raptors should hold their heads high ahead of this matchup, though, especially when it comes to their chances of limiting Porzingis. They’ve won four of their past five games, and in two of those games, they successfully contained the Pelicans elite frontcourt of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. Toronto tried to push both Cousins and Davis out of the paint. I’d imagine they’ll try to execute a similar game plan against Porzingis.
Even if Porzingis goes off, the Raptors have a strong enough offence to outlast the Knicks. Entering the game, they have the league’s third-best offensive rating at 110.2, behind the Warriors and Rockets.
Toronto will be without backup point guard Delon Wright for the foreseeable future after he dislocated his right shoulder on Wednesday against the Pelicans. Fred VanVleet has been effective in small spurts this season and will likely take Wright’s minutes until he returns to the court.
Norman Powell is listed as doubtful for tonight’s game. He’s missed the last two contests after suffering a right hip pointer against the Celtics this past weekend. OG Anunoby will continue to start in his place at small forward.
Knicks shooting guard Courtney Lee is questionable ahead of tonight’s game.
Projected starting lineups:
- PG Kyle Lowry
- SG DeMar DeRozan
- SF OG Anunoby
- PF Serge Ibaka
- C Jonas Valanciunas
New York Knicks
- PG Jarrett Jack
- SG Courtney Lee – Damyean Dotson would fill in for Lee if he can’t go.
- SF Tim Hardaway
- PF Kristaps Porzingis
- C Enes Kanter