Knicks vs. Raptors game-day Dino-bytes
The usual game-day update for tonight’s big Knicks-Raptors tilt
NEW YORK (32-19) at TORONTO (22-33)
Air Canada Center
TIPOFF: 7 p.m.
TV: TSN2; RADIO: FAN590
WEB: Yes, the usual in-game blog kicks off just before 7 p.m., feel free to join in on the fun.
New York: Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler; Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Landry Fields, Jonas Valanciunas.
A proviso: This is how it worked the last time these teams met; if the Knicks go to Amar’e Stoudemire over Shumpert, as they did in the second half the other night in Indiana, the Raptors will counter with Amir Johnson. Just giving fair warning that we might not know until 7 p.m.
Key backups tonight
New York: JR Smith (prolific shooter and sometimes a prolific scorer), Steve Novak (look for him in the corner, about to launch a three-pointer); Toronto: John Lucas (he’s shooting about 50 per cent from the floor in the last 10 days or so), Andrea Bargnani (energetic? Nervous? A factor? You never know).
Raptors lead, 1-0
It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination but Toronto came away with a 92-88 win at Madison Square Garden the night before the all-star break.
It made the all-time series 34-32 in New York’s favour and the Raptors are 19-13 all-time at home against the Knicks.
What happened this morning?
Some refuting going on
Reports of Linas Kleiza’s retirement are greatly exaggerated.
Responding to media reports in his native Lithuania that said the knee woes that have plagued him off and on for more than two years would cause his retirement, Kleiza told us not only are they not true but that he’s about a week away from returning.
“They translate rumours into fact,” Kleiza said.
The veteran forward said he’s needed time to strengthen his quad muscles to make his knee more stable. He said a near constant schedule of NBA games and commitments to his national team have not allowed him nearly enough time to get to 100 per cent.
Where’s Telfair fit?
When the newly-acquired guard gets here – he won’t arrive until tonight and will not play against the Knicks – he’s third in the point guard pecking order right off the bat.
“He’s an insurance policy,” said coach Dwane Casey. “Nothing is going to change for our team.”
Inconsequential number, but you seem to like them
Tonight’s game is expected to be a sellout, which would be the eighth of the season. That will be the most in a season since the Raptors had 13 sellouts in 2008-09.
Men in charge
Because we always bring it up, tonight’s officials are Bill Kennedy, Leon Wood and Haywoode Workman. That’s a pretty veteran crew.
What’s up in New York?
Too many media outlets to pick just one but the news is the same: They are going to sign veteran unemployed Kenyon Martin to a 10-day contract.
“If he’s got something left in the tank, he can help us,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said this morning.
If is the big thing. Martin, 35, played 42 games last season with the L.A. Clippers.
One last number
Sebastian Telfair will eventually wear No. 13 for the Raptors.
The long list of predecessors in that jersey includes: Mark Jackson, Mike James, Doug Christie, Jerome Williams, Patrick O’Bryant, David Andersen and Linton Johnson.
An august group, indeed.