By: Josh Weinstein

After two well-deserved days off, the Toronto Raptors (11-5) return to the hardwood to face the New York Knicks (9-7) in the Big Apple. Last time these two teams played just five days ago, the Raptors dished out a convincing 23-point whooping on the Knicks at Air Canada Centre. The Knicks may not have fared well at the ACC, but you can be sure playing in front of their hometown fans at Madison Square Garden will give them a much-needed jolt. New York enters with an 8-3 record at home and is tied with San Antonio for the most home wins in the NBA this season.

Kristaps Porzingis had a very poor showing in Toronto last week, finishing with just 13 points. The chances of him struggling to that extent once again are incredibly slim, but if there’s one thing the Raptors have proven this season, it’s that they have the right personnel to make things difficult for opposing big men (just ask DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis). Toronto can throw a number of defenders with contrasting defensive strengths at the 7’3” Latvian, which, at least for one game, made the Zinger look out of sorts from the get-go. We’ll quickly find out whether Porzingis’ 3 for 13 shooting night when these teams first met was a fluke or a testament to the Raptors sound defensive gameplan.

Fresh off being named Eastern Conference Player of the Week with a rounded-out line of 27/7/6 across four games, DeMar DeRozan looks to continue his sizzling offensive play of late. My guess is he won’t have a problem putting together another strong performance, especially against a subpar Knicks defence. DeRozan’s picked his spots exceptionally well over the past week or so, and as a result, has seen his efficiency soar. He’s hovered around 60 percent shooting in his last three and there’s no reason to think New York has what it takes to throw the all-star shooting guard off his game.

Projected starting lineups:

Toronto Raptors

  • PG Kyle Lowry
  • SG DeMar DeRozan
  • SF OG Anunoby
  • PF Serge Ibaka
  • C Jonas Valanciunas

New York Knicks

  • PG Jarrett Jack
  • SG Courtney Lee
  • SF Tim Hardaway Jr.
  • PF Kristaps Porzingis
  • C Enes Kanter