Home » Blog » Knicks, Raptors Begin Home-and-Home Series

Knicks, Raptors Begin Home-and-Home Series

After a miserable Christmas Day, the New York Knick - with or without Carmelo Anthony - need to beat the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors on Friday (and Saturday).

After a miserable Christmas Day, the New York Knicks – with or without Carmelo Anthony – need to beat the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors on Friday (and Saturday).

The Toronto Raptors travel to Manhattan Friday for the first game of a back-to-back, home-and-home series against the New York Knicks.

Tip-off at Madison Square Garden is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

Toronto (11-15, 7-7 road) enters the fray leading the NBA-worst Atlantic Division, three games ahead of New York (9-19, 4-11 home) in third place.

The home-and-home series represents a good chance for the Raptors to put some daylight between the two sides, or for the Knicks to gain some ground.

The Raptors will take to the court at the World’s Most Famous Arena well-rested, having enjoyed three days off over the Christmas period.

Dwane Casey’s side fell 112-99 to the San Antonio Spurs on the road in its last outing on Monday. That loss came just one night after the Raptors shocked the world with a 104-98 defeat of the Oklahoma City Thunder, becoming the first team to beat the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena this season.

That win against Oklahoma City marked a fifth victory in seven games for the Raptors, who have started to turn things around of late. In fact, since the team traded Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings it has gone 5-3 which, while not all that remarkable, is an astonishing accomplishment in the Eastern Conference this season and certainly a step up from the 4-16 record the Raptors posted before the trade.

The absence of Gay has led to a blossoming in the play of Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross. In his second year with the team, Valanciunas leads the Raptors with eight rebounds and 1.12 blocks per game. Ross, another second-year player, has averaged 13.4 points per game since Gay was shipped to northern California. During that stretch the former Washington Huskie has scored 23 and 24 points in a game, just shy of his career-best 26.

Prior to Monday’s loss in San Antonio, the Raptors had won four straight road games. Currently sitting at 7-7 away from Air Canada Centre, the Raptors haven’t been at .500 or above on the road this late in the season since going 14-13 to start the 2005-06 season.

While Toronto has been showing signs of life, New York has been plodding along from one deflating loss to another.

The latest installment of the Knicks’ horror show came on Christmas Day as the team was pummeled by Oklahoma City. Behind 29 points from Kevin Durant and a triple-double from Russell Westbrook, the Thunder ran out 123-94 winners in a game that was hard to watch for New Yorkers.

The Knicks have now lost three straight at home and with 11 losses on the MSG docket, have already lost more at home this season than all of last year.

Wednesday’s loss came without Carmelo Anthony (ankle), Raymond Felton (groin), Metta Wolrd Peace (knee) and Pablo Prigioni (foot). Prigioni and Felton, the side’s two primary point guards, will be out again Friday. Anthony and World Peace remain day-to-day, with no announcement expected until later in the day.

Despite an embarrassing Christmas Day performance, the Knicks had a couple of bright spots to enjoy. Amar’e Stoudamire came off the bench for a team-high 22 points and looks to be thriving in a reduced role. Providing he can stay healthy, he could be vital to the Knicks finding a return to form.

Meanwhile, rookie guard Tim Hardaway Jr., buried 21 points on the afternoon. His offensive skills are beginning to make his No. 24 pick in this year’s NBA Draft look a bit like a steal. If he can hone his defensive skills, the Knicks have a guard for the future.

Despite just nine wins on the season, head coach Mike Woodson remains confident that the Knicks can turn things around. Speaking with ESPN New York, he said: “We won [the division] last year. I expect us to win it this year.”

Online sportsbook, Bovada, has similar feelings. The Knicks are currently listed at 7/2 to win the Atlantic Division, behind the Brooklyn Nets (Even) and 25/1 to win the Eastern Conference, good enough for fifth.

Friday night’s matchup will see Andrea Bargnani face his former club for the first time. Bargnani, who was picked first overall by the Raptors in 2006, is averaging 14.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.25 blocks per game in his first year with the Knicks.

Raptors Steve Novak and Landry Fields will also play against their former team.

Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks odds for 12/27/2013

With Anthony’s status uncertain, betting lines had yet to be released for the game at time of publication. You’ll find them at the above link as soon as they become available.

For now, let’s take a look at some of the trends you should be keeping in mind.

The Raptors are 3-1 against Atlantic Division opponents this season. The Knicks are 1-2.

The two sides split a four-game series a season ago, with both picking up a win at home and on the road. New York took the last two meetings.

New York is 36-33 all-time against Toronto, including a 22-13 record at Madison Square Garden.

Both Toronto (12-14-0 ATS) and New York (10-18-0 ATS) have struggled against the spread this season, although the Raptors are 9-5-0 ATS away from home.

Toronto is 6-3-0 ATS in its last nine visits to Madison Square Garden.

Both teams have favored the over this season, particularly Toronto of late. The Raptors have seen the total go over in eight of its last 11 games, as well as seven of the last 10 on the road.

The total has gone over in the last three meetings between the teams.

Following Friday’s game, the Raptors will return the favor and host the Knicks at Air Canada Centre in Downtown Toronto of Saturday, with the tip scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.

20131226_East_standingsFor a full list of today’s NBA odds, click here.

For updated NBA futures odds, click here.

For updated NBA team prop bets, click here.

For updated NBA player prop bets, click here.

  • 100%