5 Things To Know: Knicks Head North to Square Off Against Raptors
7:30 PM EST | Air Canada Centre
TV: MSG Network
Radio: ESPN NY 98.7 FM
5 Things To Know:
1. After a double-digit win over the Nets on Wednesday, the Knicks suffered a difficult road loss last night in Boston. Carmelo Anthony was ejected in the second quarter and Brandon Jennings was tossed in the fourth quarter. Turnovers were the issue as New York coughed the ball up 25 times in the defeat. The Knicks were able to cut the deficit to just seven points despite the disjointed nature of the contest but eventually Boston outlasted the orange and blue.
2. Watch for the improvement we keep witnessing from Willy Hernangomez. The rookie did not see the floor in the Knicks first 3 games but he’s played a combined 39 minutes in New York’s previous two outings. Hernangomez has connected on 10-of-20 shots from the floor, hauled down 18 rebounds, snatched three steals, and scored 22 points. Head coach Jeff Hornacek brought in Hernangomez as the first center off the bench in a significant role on Friday night.
3. The Raptors are off to a strong 6-2 start to the season following a 2015-16 campaign that ended in the Eastern Conference Finals. Dwane Casey’s club is rolling on the offensive side of the floor with the sixth-best offensive rating and the seventh-best field goal percentage in the NBA. Toronto is also the best team in the league in terms of turnovers at just 11.4 per game.
4. One of the reasons the Raptors are near the top of the Eastern Conference is the play of DeMar DeRozan. The All-Star is generating some serious noise by averaging a league-best 34.1 points per game while shooting 53 percent from the floor. A key statistic for DeRozan’s success is his opportunities at the stripe. DeRozan is averaging 10 trips to the free throw line this year and he’s hitting 8.1 of those attempts. Courtney Lee and company will have a difficult task in defending the explosive shooting guard on Saturday night.
5. On Friday night, the Raptors dispatched the Hornets by erasing a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to secure a 113-111 win. DeRozan hit his season average with 34 points, Kyle Lowry added 19, and Jonas Valanciunas grabbed eight boards. Charlotte attempted a shocking 41 3-point attempts and nailed 17 to register a 41.5 percent clip. The Raptors will play a second of a back-to-back after traveling home from Charlotte. Toronto’s schedule is daunting over the next five days, as the team will face New York on Saturday and then the defending champs on Tuesday, and play host to the Warriors on Wednesday night.