Game Preview: Raptors vs Knicks

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

New York Knicks (14-56) @ Toronto Raptors (49-21)

When: Monday, March 18th, 7:30 P.M. ET

Where: Scotiabank Arena

Leading into tonight’s game:

- Injury report: For the Raptors, Serge Ibaka (league suspension) is out. Toronto’s injury report has not yet been submitted, but point guard Kyle Lowry (sprained left ankle) missed his second consecutive game on Sunday against the Pistons. His status for Monday is not yet known. For the Knicks, an injury report has not yet been posted, but Frank Ntilikina (sore groin), Dennis Smith Jr. (sore lower back) and Noah Vonleh (sprained right ankle) all missed New York’s game on Sunday.

- Back-to-back: Monday’s game will be Toronto’s final back-to-back of the season, following a 110-107 loss in Detroit against the Pistons on Sunday. It will also be a back-to-back for the Knicks, who defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 124-123 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday as Mario Hezonja blocked LeBron James with 3.1 seconds remaining. Emmanuel Mudiay had 28 points and eight assists and DeAndre Jordan had 15 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists. The win snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Knicks.

- Recent history: This is the third meeting between the Raptors and Knicks this season. Toronto has won both of their previous meetings, and will head to New York next week to close out the season series. Most recently the Raptors defeated the Knicks 104-99 in New York as Marc Gasol made his Raptors debut. The Raptors received 22 points from Kyle Lowry and 15 points and 13 rebounds from Serge Ibaka, and managed to hold off the Knicks late thanks to free throws from Lowry to clinch the victory with eight seconds remaining. The Knicks were led by Kevin Knox’s 20 points, and a 10-point, 18-rebound double-double from DeAndre Jordan in the loss.

Extra Assists

- Bet on Fred: Fred VanVleet returned to the lineup on Sunday after missing the previous 12 games with a torn thumb ligament. His return was a welcomed one and his impact was felt immediately. VanVleet led all reserves in scoring, contributing 17 points off the bench in 31 minutes. He shot 6-for-10 from the floor, including 4-for-5 from beyond the three-point line, while adding a rebound and four assists. 

- Moving up: Despite Sunday’s loss to the Pistons, Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with a game-high 33 points. This was his 34th game this season scoring at least 25 points and it tied him with Chris Bosh’s total from the 2009-10 season. Vince Carter holds the franchise record with 52 games scoring at least 25 points (2000-01), while DeMar DeRozan is second with 45 games (2016-17). Leonard is now tied with Bosh for sixth in franchise history, with 11 regular season games remaining.

- All-around game: Marc Gasol flirted with a triple-double in Sunday’s game, showing off his passing skills once again. With starting point guard Kyle Lowry out of the lineup for a second consecutive game because of a sprained ankle, Gasol led the team in assists, finishing with nine points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and a blocked shot in 37 minutes of play. Gasol has played 14 games with the Raptors since being traded to Toronto at the deadline. He has recorded at least four assists in eight of those contests.

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