Friday, March 23, 2012
New York Knicks vs. Toronto Raptors Pre-Game News and Notes March 23
Friday March 23rd, 7:00 P.M. ET
New York Knicks @ Toronto Raptors
The Knicks look to continue their stellar play under Mike Woodson tonight in Toronto going for their 6th straight victory. A win tonight will being the Knicks back to .500 for the first time since the last night of February when the Knicks defeated the Cavaliers.
-Loss of Jared Jeffries
The Knicks will be without defensive stalwart Jared Jeffries for tonight’s game, and also Saturday night. The Knicks will miss his presence on the defensive end, but Jeffries brings more to the table than just taking charges. For more of what Jeffries brings to the Knicks, check out this link: espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knic
Steve Novak and Josh Harrellson area expected to pick up the minutes available with Jeffries on the shelf. Novak will have to continue his great shooting while Harrellson brings an added dimension of a versatile big with 3 point range. Harrellson is valuable because he is not afraid to mix it up in the middle with opposing bigs, and also has quickness you would not expect from a player of his stature.
-Continue to Dominate the Paint
The Raptors do not have much when it comes to big men, lacking size when it comes to the paint. Andrea Bargnani is their starting Center, but he like a lot of European players prefers to play on the perimeter. The Knicks should be able to exploit this with Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. If the Knicks can dominate the paint it will lead to easy looks for snipers J.R. Smith and Steve Novak.
The last time the Knicks and Raptors met the Knicks struggled with guarding the pick-and-roll throughout the last game in Toronto, until the Knicks made a concentrated effort to stop it in a ferocious 4th quarter comeback. Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani work well on the pick-and-roll because of Bargnani’s deadly outside shooting. If the Knicks can contain these two, a win should not be far behind.
-Get into the Open Court
The Knicks have been successful all season forcing turnovers and converting those turnovers into points. The Raptors struggled with the defensive intensity the Knicks brought to end the game in their last meeting in Toronto, so bringing that intensity should be at the top of the Knicks to do list for this game. If the Knicks are able to open up a big lead from the start, it should deflate a Raptors team heading for yet another lottery bid this off-season.
-Carmelo Anthony’s Shooting
Carmelo Anthony has been struggling with his shot since spraining his wrist against the Memphis Grizzlies on January 12th. It will be interesting to see how Anthony bounces back after a 5-15 shooting performance Wednesday against the 76ers. One positive thing about Anthony’s performance is that he has not let it affect the rest of his game. He has shown much more effort on the defensive end, and is still continuing to rebound and be a part of the offense, evidence of the 4.4 assists per game since Woodson took over as head coach.