3 Strikes Your Out At MSG

Yes it is only December but for those of you holding out hope for the playoffs tonight is a very important game. If the Raptors lose tonight the season series with the Knicks is a wrap. If they some how find a way to win they will keep the season series alive till April 5th. That being said a tiebreaker vs the Knicks might not mean a thing. The Knicks are looking really good of late and are winners of 5 straight. The Raptors have lost 2 in a row starting with a disappointing loss to these Knicks. Demar DeRozan and Sonny Weems did not play well vs the Knicks. Both have had their struggles of late and talk of changes to starting line-up have become popular. I would just say to that, if this year is about development you let them try and figure it out. However, they do need to figure things out sooner as opposed to later.

The Basics: New York 13-9 (4-5 at Home) Raptors 8-13(2-8 on the Road)

When Last We Saw Them: The Raptors were giving up 3-balls at an alarming rate and when the pinball machine stopped they had a 24 point loss in Indiana. A lack of perimeter defence has been a serious issue of late. This was a constant problem last season and it is becoming a growing one for this year.

Key Match-Ups: Really they have not changed in a week. Demar DeRozan needs to be better than Landry Fields. I joked around the last time saying Landry who? But he was the rookie of the month in the Eastern Conference. For a 2nd round pick to do that is a pretty huge accomplishment. But Demar is a lottery pick from the previous draft and has to show he is the superior talent. Amare Stoudamire has feasted on the Raptors in 2 games so far averaging 25 points and 10.5 rebounds in 2 meetings. Bargnani in the same 2 games is averaging 19 points and and 6.5 rebounds. Obviously perimeter defence will be essential to have any chance at winning.

Other Things of Note: The Knicks have just not won 5 straight but 10 of their last 11 games. The lone loss came to Atlanta 99-90 back on November 27th. This winning of 10 of 11 came on the heels of 6 game losing streak. The Raptors have a 3 game winning streak at MSG and an overall 11-18 record in NYC all-time. The Knicks are averaging 107.7 points per game this season and are shooting 46.6%. The Knicks in the Season Opener shot 26% from 3 Point Range but in their latest win shot 44.4% from beyond the arc. It appears the Raptors were fortunate that they were in New York because if they had not been it sures seems like Jay Triano would have had them practising. But as in all things in New York with no notice getting anything in New York is next to impossible. But Triano was clearly not happy about his team's play in Indiana and if you watched it you know why he has reason to feel that way.

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