New York (22-25) at Toronto (30-15)
When: Thursday, January 28th 2016
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: TNT
The New York Knicks look to defeat the Toronto Raptors for the second time this season when the two teams meet on Thursday. The Knicks have lost three straight games and are now 0-5 without star Carmelo Anthony who missed Tuesday’s game with a knee injury. He is expected back in the lineup Thursday in Toronto. New York almost pulled off a big upset without him, but came up short in overtime, losing to Oklahoma City 128-122. They failed to reach 90 points in their previous two games, but had six players score in double-figures without Anthony. Lance Thomas started in Anthony’s place and scored 16 points while going 5-of-7 from the field in 41 minutes before fouling out late and is 12-of-20 from the floor in his last three games. Langston Galloway (21 points) logged 33 minutes off the bench on Tuesday and is taking more and more playing time away from starter Jose Calderon, who managed six points in 21 minutes against the Thunder. Aaron Afflalo scored 17 points, but is just 10-of-36 from the floor over the last three games. Power forward Derrick Williams has been playing big minutes off the bench and has two-straight 19 point games to go along with 24 total rebounds. He averages just 9.4 points and 3.7 rebounds a game, but has seen his minutes increase.
The Raptors can set a franchise-record with their 10th straight victory tonight, but they may be without All-Star Kyle Lowry. He left Tuesday’s game against Washington with an apparent hand injury. X-rays came back negative and Lowry, who led the way with 29 points before leaving the game. He was diagnosed with a sprained left (non-shooting) wrist. Backup point guard Cory Joseph is averaging 11 points on 10-of-15 shooting in the last two games and can pick up more of the slack if Lowry takes any time off to rest. The Raptors went on to beat the Wizards 106-89 holding them to just 39 second-half points and matching their franchise-record for wins set back in 2001-02. Jonas Valanciunas is averaging 14 points and 9.9 rebounds during the winning streak and had 12 rebounds on Tuesday. The streak started with four-straight road wins and the last five have come at home with one more at Air Canada Centre before hitting the road again for six straight.
The New York bench is stepping it up right now and the Raptors might be without Lowry. Double-digits is a lot to lay in an NBA game. I’m going to say the Knicks keep it close.
Pick: Knicks +10.5