Game Preview: Raptors vs Knicks

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

New York Knicks (4-8) @ Toronto Raptors (11-1)

When: Saturday, November 10th, 3 P.M. ET

Where: Scotiabank Arena 

Leading into tonight’s game:

Injury Report: For the Raptors, Norman Powell is out with a left shoulder subluxation. The team issued an injury update, saying that Powell will be out indefinitely after suffering the injury Nov. 5 at Utah. For the Knicks, Courtney Lee (neck spasms), Kristaps Porzingis (left knee) and Lance Thomas (left knee surgery) are out.

Three at home: The Raptors are back home to kick off a three-game homestand at Scotiabank Arena. Toronto will face the Knicks, New Orleans Pelicans and Detroit Pistons before heading back out on the road for a four-game east coast road trip. The Raptors are coming off a four-game west coast trip where the team went undefeated for the first time in franchise history. Toronto is one of five teams remaining with a perfect 6-0 record at home.

Leonard leads the way: Kawhi Leonard returned to the lineup in Toronto’s 114-105 victory against the Sacramento Kings after missing the previous two games with left ankle soreness. He wasted no time getting in on the action, scoring a team-high 25 points (7-for-17 field goals, 2-for-5 three-point field goals, 9-for-9 free throws), while also grabbing 11 rebounds. Leonard is leading the team in scoring, averaging 26.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game.

Extra Assists

Pulling away: The Raptors found themselves in unfamiliar territory in the first quarter of their game against the Kings on Wednesday. Trailing by eight with 4:17 remaining in the opening quarter, Toronto got to work. The Raptors closed the quarter on a 15-4 run to turn an eight-point deficit into a three-point lead. “Sacramento was really coming out and delivering their best punches for a long time,” Nick Nurse said. “We hung in there and stayed with it and were able to open [up the game].”

Inside game: Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka were both brilliant for the Raptors on the road. Siakam shot 66 percent from the floor on the trip, while Ibaka finished with a ridiculous 74 percent shooting percentage over the four victories. “We put a lot of work in, working on [our shooting],” Ibaka said of he and Siakam. “[Kyle Lowry] has been doing a great job to find us, to make the game so easy for us on offence.” Though the team is 11-1 with the best record in the NBA, Siakam feels there’s still plenty of room of improvement. “We see the potential and we just want to make sure we can reach that potential,” he said.

Afternoon tip: Saturday’s game will be the rare afternoon home game for Toronto this season. There will be three more daytime tip offs for the Raptors at Scotiabank Arena this season, but generally speaking, this will be a deviation from the normal pre-game routine players have on game-days. Anyone expecting a slow start from Pascal Siakam due to the early start-time will be disappointed. “For me, I’m ready whenever,” Siakam said. “I’m not worried about the time. If it’s 5 o’clock in the morning, I’m going to play. I don’t care.”

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