Key Reserves: Linas Kleiza, Leandro Barbosa, Ed Davis
On the surface, it looks the Knicks should roll on the Raptors, but true Knicks fans know there’s no such thing as a guaranteed win. The Raptors have lost 4 of their last 5, including a heartbreaker against the Lakers on Sunday. Although, the Knicks are looking for their 6th straight win since Linsanity swept the nation, anything can happen tonight.
Frontcourt: It hasn’t been all doom and gloom for the Raptors. Jose Calderon has been the one constant. Creating plays for his teammates while averaging 8 assists per contest. Last Sunday, he had his best outing against the Lakers with 30 points and 6 assists. Don’t look for him to score, but rather dish it to his teammates. DeMar DeRozan is going to be the go-to-guy with Andrea Bargnani out, so look for him to attack.
Backcourt: James Johnson is another bright spot for the Raptors this season. His production goes up incrementally game after game and he’s been rewarded with a starting role. Amir Johnson offered next to nothing on Sunday. He had 2 rebounds and a steal in 16 minutes. I wouldn’t be surprised if he bounced back tonight. Aaron Gray doesn’t offer much for the Raptors besides size, he shouldn’t have a major impact or any at all.
Keys to Victory:
Assimilate Amar’e: This will be Amar’e Stoudemire’s first game back since the tragic death of his brother. Lots have changed since he last played, but he shouldn’t have a tough time running the pick and roll with Lin.
Play with energy: This isn’t exactly a marquee game, but it’s imperative that the Knicks play with energy because the nation is watching now and they want to know if they can trust these Knicks.
Have Fun: Like I said this isn’t a marquee game so the Knicks should continue to go with what works. During this streak a word being mentioned redundantly is fun.