The Toronto Raptors 46-32 will host the New York Knicks 33-45 at 7 p.m. Friday on TSN 2, with a chance to drive a sizeable nail into the coffin of the Knicks’ playoff prospects.

The only relevant news is that Andrea Bargnani is out, Kenyon Martin is almost certainly out and Amir Johnson looks likely despite the questionable label on the latest injury report. The Raptors are 2-0 against the Knicks this year from a back-to-back Christmas game, and they’ve also beaten them twice in the preseason, which obviously doesn’t matter, but this Would be cool to go 6-0 against the Knicks just because. The two teams face off again on Wednesday in Mecca to conclude the season.

To help us set the scene, we called on Gus Crawford of Knickerblogger, who was so helpful and thorough with his answers that he saved me from writing a lot because it will already grow 2,000 words.

1. With the Knicks two games away from the playoffs with just four to play, the Raptors can push the Knicks to almost certain lottery status (with no choice) on Friday. What would be worse – having the Raptors wait to officially end the Knicks’ season on April 16, or having saddled the Knicks with Andrea Bargnani? (#TakeThatMasaiUjiri)

Can I take “option four”, a combination of all of the above? As if being the New York Knicks weren’t spicy enough, someone in the Brass / CAA Knicks family has managed to find something mouth-watering in the man once affectionately known as “Primo Pasta.” . If you hadn’t mentioned Andrea Bargnani in the wording of the question, I might have completely forgotten that he existed – you know, because he hasn’t dressed for a game since January 22. To answer your question, few things have been so frustrating for Knicks fans as the hypnotic hold that Masai seems to exert over the top decision makers in the organization. It would be somewhat poetic if Bargnani returned for the April 16 game, and it turned out to be the game that explicitly knocked the Knicks out of the playoffs, as some have suggested.

While it would be nice to sneak into the playoffs, the cost of this disappointing season doesn’t come down to the excess baggage that comes with the aforementioned Italian stallion and his blatant contract. Rumor has it that a simple glimpse into the gruesome details of the Bargnani deal can have an effect similar to staring at a solar eclipse, burning your eyes irreparably. That’s okay, at least they haven’t given up anything substantial in the tango with Masai Ujiri. Oh? I present, without additional comments, Summary by Marc Berman of the July 2013 transaction:

“Because they were ready to absorb the last two years and $ 22.25 million of Bargnani’s contract, along with a 1.5% trade trade, the Knicks weren’t asked to give up a big trump card. . They would part ways with two players with unwanted contracts at Novak and Camby. The Knicks do not have a first round in 2014, so they are not allowed to trade a pick until 2016. “

I think I’ll let R Kelly take this one.

2. Tyson Chandler’s defensive impact seems much weaker this season than in previous years. In fact, the Knicks’ D-rating barely changes with or without Chandler, although ESPN’s new Real Plus-Minus metric still ranks him 21st in defense. Has Chandler lost a step, maybe due to his leg injury at the start of the season, is it a motivation issue, or simply a matter of not being able to tell the difference for a bad enough cast of teammates?

A research team was dispatched for “2012 Tyson Chandler” some time ago, but the results weren’t very promising. Chandler won the league’s first individual defensive honor in 2011-12 by single-handedly skipping a less than mediocre sieve cast to a defensive rating of 98.4 through the 66 matches shortened by the lockout. His distaste for Mike Woodson’s defensive preferences has been apparent at least since his startling post-game remarks (claiming the Knicks were “outsmarted” by Brooklyn) in late January and, realistically, even before that. Here is what he had to say Regarding the coaching staff’s penchant for persistent change:

“I don’t want to change. Personally, I don’t like it. You come up with a defensive plan, then each guy gets up and takes responsibility. I think change should always be your last resort. It’s me, personally.

Obviously, it doesn’t help Chandler’s cause that he’s surrounded by such a motley team of selfless and / or inane defensive identities, but the vibes surrounding his efforts haven’t been great. While that may be any consolation, his individual defensive efficiency has gradually improved month over month, from January (108.0) to February (107.6) to March (105.7). There is still a lot of room to move on this front, however. Aside from the opposition’s ability to light up the Knicks even with Chandler on the ground, perhaps the most damning measure of his continued slide is one that reflects his declining interior, D. Chandler only ranks 37th in the round. league for the FG% of opponents on board. (min. 50 games played and 5.0 contest attempts per game), allowing a very unstable 52.1% within five feet of the basket.

That’s a far cry from a player who was once – and very recently – unmistakably placed in the league’s elite rim protector category, and who (I guess) is best attributed to the nasty recipe for losing a step. or two, of getting tired of the game of teammates and feeling isolated in scenarios of constant change.

3. Who wins in a 1 on 1 game, Chris Smith or Inflatable Raptor?

“Do you know the sad thing about betrayal?” “ Disturbingly, once again you’ve managed to illuminate a remnant of a bygone Knicks-ian era (albeit earlier this season) where “Chris Smith, # 0, New York Knicks” was a real thing. life. I was present at the ACC after Christmas where Chris Smith received 36 seconds of his 1:57 burn in orange and blue. All it took was a triple double from Kyle Lowry and the Knicks to be completely wiped out for this moment to pass. I can never de-see those thirty-six seconds.

I’ve seen Inflatable Raptor’s dance moves – he might not have the biggest wingspan or wingspan, but he’s agile, has decent jumps, and had a solid stage under The Raptor and Stripes over the years. I would put the line at Inflatable Raptor, -4.5.

4. The fact that Carmelo Anthony is not a great defender sometimes seems to go too far. That is to say, the gap between “excellent” and “mediocre” in attack is greater than this same difference in defense, so his shortcomings are not as impactful as what he does well. With another season on the books, where would you rank Anthony, overall, among the best players in the NBA?

I feel like Anthony’s celebrity is the perfect example of the “eye test” method. If you allowed yourself to sit back, ignore the white noise, and watch him just effortlessly pour out perimeter shots and skillfully achieve his patented meager mids, you’d think his playing was nearly unprecedented. And in many ways it is. The “flavor of the month” / stat of the day for Melo is his season average – 27.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game – the first such combination to be amassed since none other than Shaq in the 2000-01 season. The refinement of his rebound craft has been championed throughout the season, and maybe not even enough. His defensive rebound percentage climbed to 19.6% (a career high), fueling his average by 36 from 5.8 defensive limits. A case of “defining and staggering,” as Clyde might say.

There is a strong and strong argument that could be made that 2013-14 was Melo’s best individual season. Here are the categories in which he raised the bar and set a new personal best: 3P%, FT%, Turnovers by 36, TS%, Offensive Winning Shares, Total Winning Shares. This list, in keeping with its typical offensive excellence, is the frame of the argument and constitutes the bulk of the deception. behind his teammates who let him down this season. All of this in a season where he has been driven into the ground and is approaching a stage where he could break through the 3,000 minute barrier.

The process of ranking players can be exhaustive, a bit hollow (due to the difficulty of overlapping positions), and seem a bit arbitrary. Based on the above, I will try to accurately assess his status among the league’s elite. He ranks 9th in PER this season (and 7th among players with at least 60 games played), and I would fix him somewhere in the 9-12 range on the NBA best list.

5. Despite many jokes to the contrary, the Knicks aren’t terribly bad, just “bad,” with a point differential indicating a 36-42 team. Their defense, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Specifically, they allow a ton of three – is it a system issue, a personnel issue, or a mix of the two, and what kind of action can the Raptors use to exploit it?

The Knicks are 12-7 since March 1, the 14th best record in this window, and yet they have managed to stay on their feet while allowing opponents to register 107.1 points per 100 possessions – 22nd in the L. Notice the disparity? The defense has been disgusting for most of the season, allowing for rushed perimeter shots (as you mention) and conceding an opposing FG% of 61.5% in the restricted area. Not a great combination there.

They’ve been bombarded by opposing backcourt throughout the season – including Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan – and haven’t even managed to resolve high pick-and-roll situations from a distance. It’s almost as if every guard has targeted Raymond Felton (much like the Knicks’ fortune) and licked their lips on the occasion of blowing up New York’s unfortunate defensive setup. Additionally, Mike Woodson’s recent weapon of choice – a starting lineup Felton-Smith-Anthony-Stoudemire-Chandler – has a defensive rating of 111.6 out of 254 total minutes of time-share on the field, and 119.4 (!!!) in their last ten games. together.

The formula for Toronto is fairly straightforward. Involve Amar’e Stoudemire as much as possible, attack Felton out of the dribble, perform the high screen and roll, and look to cause damage beyond the arc. The Raps are on a four-game streak with over 10 three-point field goals, and I wouldn’t expect this to end against the ‘bockers D.

Vegas says: Raptors -5 with almost even distribution of money so far. 72% are in favor of the plus at 192.5, which is moderately surprising considering these two play at well below average paces. Again these are above average infractions, and what do I know?
Hollinger says: Raptors -7
Large L says: You don’t know me, just say what’s up, give me a pound that’s all

Blake says:

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