Game Analysis

The New York Knicks host the Toronto Raptors in what will be a matchup of one of the league’s worst offensive against one of its best defenses. The Knicks have the league’s third worst record and have lost eight of their last 10 games. The team’s roster isn’t particularly balanced, which is reflected in the fact that they’re 28th in the league in scoring and 28th in field goal percentage. Bigs Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Taj Gibson, and Bobby Portis are all serviceable or better NBA players, but the team hasn’t surrounded them with enough perimeter threats to create space inside. The Knicks shoot just 34 percent from three as a team, 25th in the league. If not for Marcus Morris, who is making a career-best 47 percent of his three-pointers, that percentage would be much lower. Only one other player on the team (Portis) is making more than 34 percent of his threes. Knox and rookie R.J. Barrett have both struggled shooting the ball this season, and the overall lack of shooting is reflected in the Knicks scoring -- they’re 27th in the league in points per game. The Raptors, meanwhile, have continued to be a strong defensive team despite major changes to their championship roster. Pascal Siakam, who won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award last season, could do it again as he’s increased his scoring by nearly eight points per game while taking on a bigger role in the offense. Fred Van Vleet and Norm Powell are also averaging career-highs as their roles on the team have expanded this season. The Raptors beat the Knicks by 28 points in November, and have won five straight games. They trail Miami by one game for second place in the Eastern Conference standings. Toronto is 24-18-2 against the spread this season and New York is 23-22.

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