Knicks Look To Steal Win On The Road Against The Reigning Champs: Knicks (4-13) vs. Raptors (12-4) Preview

Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images) from raptors republic

The New York Knicks (4-13) will be facing the reigning champion, Toronto Raptors (12-4) at 7:30pm Eastern Time, on the road in the Scotiabank Arena. The Raptors are listed as 10 point favorites, despite being without Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka.

Starting Lineups- With 2 Attributes That Will Be Impactful Tonight (Strength, Weakness)

PositionNew York KnicksToronto Raptors
PGFrank Ntilikina (defense, scoring)Fred VanVleet (3 point shooting, turnovers)
SGRJ Barrett (driving, perimeter defense)Norman Powell (defense, shooting)
SFMarcus Morris Sr. (3 point shooting, turnovers)OG Anunoby (defense/3 point shooting, driving)
PFJulius Randle (interior scoring, turnovers)Pascal Siakam (scoring/defense, turnovers)
CTaj Gibson (rebounding, fouling)Marc Gasol (rebounding, scoring)

Matchup Of The Night

Julius Randle vs Pascal Siakam

Siakam, in his 4th season, has become one of the most improved players in the NBA. He seems to be on his way for his first All-Star selection, averaging 25.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. Siakam is a notoriously tremendous defender, posting an impressive 101.8 defensive rating thus far into the season. Siakam is very versatile on offense, due to him shooting a career high 37.4% from three and 82.9% from the foul line. The Knicks will look to force Siakam to take mid-range jumpers, where he is only shooting 32.6% this season. Interestingly enough, Siakam is shooting a tremendous 42.9% from the right-corner, three, yet shooting only 30.8% from the left-corner, three. Julius Randle will draw the daunting matchup against Siakam. Randle will need to attack him on offense, hopefully getting Siakam into foul trouble (averaging 3.3 fouls per game). Randle will also look to score down low, as Siakam is fast and can guard the perimeter well for a big man (opponents only shooting 32.1% from 3, yet shooting 47.9% from 2, while he’s guarding them). Last season, Siakam was guarded by Julius Randle for a total of 7:08 in 2 games. During that time, Siakam shot 0-5 from the floor and only scored 2 points. In those 2 games last season, Randle was guarded by Siakam for 10:10. Randle shot an impressive 7-13, scoring 18 points!

Inactives

Knicks- Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock

Raptors- Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Matt Thomas, and Dewan Hernandez

Key Statistics

  1. The Raptors lead the NBA in 3 point percentage (39.3%). The Knicks are 6th in the NBA (37.8%).
  2. Toronto is 3rd in the NBA in free throw percentage (81.9%). New York is last in the NBA (67.1%).
  3. The Knicks lead the NBA, averaging 12.5 offensive rebounds per game. The Raptors are 4th in the NBA, averaging 37.3 defensive rebounds per game.
  4. New York is 4th in the NBA, only getting 3.9 of their shots blocked per game. The Raptors are 26th in the NBA, being blocked 6.1 times per game.
  5. The Knicks are last in the NBA, committing 24.2 fouls per game. The Raptors are 20th in the NBA, only drawing 20.8 fouls per game.
  6. The Raptors are 8th in offensive rating (110.3) and 6th in defensive rating (103.1). The Knicks are 29th in offensive rating (103.4) and 20th in defensive rating (110.1).
  7. Toronto is 3rd in the NBA, averaging 19.8 points off turnovers per game. New York is 11th, averaging 18.5.
  8. The Raptors lead the NBA, averaging 19.6 fast break points per game. The Knicks are 28th, averaging 10.3.
  9. New York leads the NBA, averaging 16.1 second chance points per game. Toronto is 28th, averaging 10.2.
  10. New York is last in the NBA, only scoring 39.9 points in the paint per game. Toronto is 17th in the NBA, averaging 47.3 points in the paint per game. 

Keys To Winning

Guarding the three-point line, protecting the basketball, and not fouling will be crucial for the Knicks to have a chance to steal this game on the road tonight. Toronto’s two best players are Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet. Both are young and play with a tremendous amount of energy. The Knicks will look to slow them down and force them to shoot mid-range jumpers. RJ Barrett will be playing his first game back in his home country, looking to put on a show in Canada tonight. Barrett’s energy, along with good rim protection from the Knicks, suffocating defense from Ntilikina on VanVleet, and solid scoring nights from Marcus Morris Sr. and Julius Randle, might be enough to deliver the Raptors their first loss at home this season.

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