New York Knicks vs Toronto Raptors
February 27, 2017
Raptors 92, Knicks 91
Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn
Once Rose got switched on DeRozan, you could see the end result coming.
An old school, defense first, Eastern Conference matchup took place at the world’s most famous arena tonight when the new-look Toronto Raptors came to town. Both teams would be without important players tonight, with Kristaps Porzingis out for the Knicks, and Kyle Lowry out for the Raptors. The Knicks were also without Joakim Noah, who will miss the rest of the season, and Brandon Jennings, who was waived earlier in the day. Chasson Randle replaced Jennings on the roster, and he did not see any action tonight. This was a battle of all-stars as DeMar DeRozan had another game where he could show off just how gifted an offensive player he is. DeRozan finished with 37 points on 25 shots, including the game winner over Derrick Rose with 1.9 left in regulation. Carmelo Anthony had a tough shooting night, but led the Knicks with 24 points on 9/26 shooting.
If you’re somebody who wants the Knicks to tank on the rest of this disappointing season, then this was the perfect game for you to watch. An entertaining, down to the wire game was just what the tank enthusiasts were looking for, just for entertainment value alone. Games like this can almost make the idea of tanking again, bearable.
There were positives all over this one, starting with Lance Thomas, who was once again inserted into the starting lineup to replace the injured Kristaps Porzingis. Lance put up decent numbers, he scored 12 points and pulled down 6 rebounds, but the intangibles he brought to this game were what the Knicks wanted when they resigned him this past summer. Diving for loose balls and solid defense was the key to Lance’s game tonight, and that’s something to watch moving forward. Along with Lance, Courtney Lee continued to prove he was worth the money as well, and he finished with 16 points, 3 three pointers, 5 steals, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. Lee also drained a three pointer late in the fourth quarter that gave the Knicks the lead before DeRozan took it back from them. Lee and Thomas were the two best players on the court tonight for New York, and these guys will be important for next years team.
The real problem for the Knicks tonight, and this season, has been a lack of killer instinct. Once again, the Knicks had a 17 point lead over their opponent, and weren’t able to finish the job and leave with a win. The Knicks did everything right on the defensive side of the ball, holding a talented Raptors squad to just 92 points, which is well below their seasons average of 108.5.
They were hustling and sticking with their man, and showed the type of fight we’ve all been looking for all season, and it still wasn’t enough. Credit to Toronto to the moves they made last week, because the acquisitions of PJ Tucker and Serge Ibaka are going to do wonders for their team defense. To see those guys every night and have to deal with them defensively is going to be tough for any Eastern Conference team in the postseason.
Depending on what side you’re on, you left this game with a sigh of relief, or a broken heart.
Knicks and Magic, Wednesday at 7 PM. Talk to you all soon.
By the way, if you like college basketball, seeing Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet defending one another was pretty cool. Those guys were a lot of fun to watch at Wichita State, and they played in a ton of big games. Shoutout to the Wheat Shockers.