Game Preview: Raptors vs. Knicks

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

The Raptors look to win their third straight when they tip off against the New York Knicks on Sunday afternoon. Toronto most recently scored a franchise-high for points in a non-overtime game in a 132-113 victory against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. The Knicks are in Toronto following a 104-89 victory against the Chicago Bulls.

Tip-off: 3:00 P.M. ET

Broadcast Info: TSN4, TSN5 / TSN1050

TALKING POINTS

Porzingis, Patterson questionable for Sunday

Knicks sophomore phenom Kristaps Porzingis is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. The big man has been dealing with a sore left achilles. ESPN’s Ian Begley reported that Porzingis told reporters “probably not” when asked if he would be playing against the Raptors after he sat out of the contact portion of practice.

Patrick Patterson missed Toronto’s victory on Friday night with a strained left knee. It is the same injury that sidelined him for four games two weeks ago. Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said Patterson sitting on Friday was more of a precautionary measure than anything else. Patterson did not practice on Saturday and his status for Sunday is unknown.

Working the glass

Rebounding has been a big topic for Toronto over the last couple of weeks. After getting out-rebounded in recent losses on the team’s season-high six-game road trip, Casey has spoken repeatedly about the importance of guards helping out their big men and crashing the glass. In the past week, DeMar DeRozan recorded a career-high 13 rebounds in a victory and DeMarre Carroll collected a season-high 11 boards in Friday’s win.

“We have to [rebound],” Casey said. “At one time we were 30th in rebounding, we can’t get any lower than that. It’s a decision to go in and get them. That’s one of the hustle plays, 50-50 balls, you’re going to get it or I’m going to get it, those types of plays. Some of it is DNA. Rebounding is an NBA skill, it’s great to have. DeMar had 13 the other night, DeMarre had 11, it’s helping the bigs.”

Rookies rolling with the ups and downs

The rookie season is often filled with highs and lows as players get accustomed to NBA life. With much more travel and an 82-game season to adjust to, mid-season fatigue is often a factor. Pascal Siakam kicked off his NBA career by starting in place of the injured Jared Sullinger. He received three consecutive DNP-CD’s in the previous week, before playing 11 minutes against the Nets on Friday. Jakob Poeltl has also bounced around the rotation this season, earning minutes in stretches. He played six minutes against the Celtics and eight against the Nets. What has impressed Casey is how the duo has handled on-court successes as well as struggles.

“Pascal came in [against the Nets], he hadn’t played in a while, he sees [DeMarre Carroll] coming back full time, he sees [Jared Sullinger] coming back [soon], but I was proud of the way he came in and competed with energy and confidence and was ready,” Casey said. “That’s what this league’s about. Jakob did a good job, a solid job in the stints he’s had here for a while. You knew what you’re going to get with Jakob… he’s a very smart young man who knows how to play.”

With Sullinger’s debut inching closer as he continues to rehab from offseason surgery, minutes for Poeltl and Siakam could be harder to find. If the Raptors feel either rookie isn’t getting enough reps in on-court, or if the team isn’t getting enough practice days because of their schedule, doing a stint with Raptors 905 is always an option.

“That’s the great thing about the D-League team right here,” Casey said. “They can go down and play one night and be right back with us the next day and not miss a beat.

“It’s a possibility to go down and get some minutes, consistent minutes and come right back,” Casey continued. “It’s not punishment for me, it’s conditioning, it’s a plus, a positive so nobody should ever take it that it’s a demotion to go down there and play.”