The Knicks need a much-needed win headed into the All-Star Break after their lackluster effort in a home loss to the Clippers on Sunday afternoon. Yes, the Knicks are 7-3 in their last 10 games, but most of those wins have come from much lesser opponents. The Knicks recently lost to Philly and Washington, two teams with bad records who are playing better as of late…enter the Toronto Raptors, another Atlantic Division foe the Knicks are facing for the first time this year.
Rudy Gay has been magnificent playing the stretch four for the Raptors and it should be an enticing matchup against Carmelo Anthony. Gay is leading the Raptors in scoring averaging close to 23 per contest in their last five games to go along with almost seven rebounds. The Raptors have won 4 of their last six games, and three in a row. Those two losses included a four point loss to Boston and a two point loss to the Hawks. Kyle Lowry is back and playing well, shooting 53% from three in the last five games and averaging 7.5 assists. DeMar Derozan is averaging 17.5 ppg. In a few words, the Raptors are dangerous and if the Knicks continue to play lackluster defense they are going to lose.
In terms of efficiency, the Raptors are tenth best in offensive efficiency and 25th defensively, so the Knicks should get plenty of chances to get back into rhythm. I really believe the Knicks are not playing well because they are not putting in effort. You got glimpses of this from Coach Woodson on his MSG show, he said, “where is the urgency”, in regards to JR Smith failing to fight through a screen. He even highlighted a play where Jason Kidd was not where he needed to be when falling off his man off another screen. Woodson frustratingly said, “They don’t know how to SWITCH!” Now this could be a failure in coaching and adapting to the personnel or it can be the players not caring enough.
Whatever the reason may be, the Knicks need to confront and overcome it because after the All-Star Break the Knicks are getting tested. 12 of their 17 games in March are against above .500 teams including a five game West Coast trip at Golden State, Denver, Portland (Back to back) at the Clippers and at the Jazz (ANOTHER back to back). Even the teams that are under .500 are dangerous and on the road, at Washington, Toronto again, Philly, Detroit, and Cleveland. Knicks need a win and during the All Star break, they better get recommitted. GO NEW YORK!