New York Knicks at Toronto Raptors (-8.5, 198.5 o/u)
The New York Knicks (22-25, 9-15 Away) have lost three games in a row, and will be hard-pressed to avoid a fourth tonight when they face the hottest team in the East, the Toronto Raptors (30-15, 16-6 Home), at the Air Canada Centre (8:00 PM Eastern).
New York has dropped its last three to the Clippers (116-88), Hornets (97-84), and Thunder (128-122), moving them two full games back of Indiana for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. A division title already looks out of reach, with the Knicks sitting nine back of Toronto in the Atlantic.
Leading-scorer Carmelo Anthony is a game-time decision for tonight with a sore left knee. He missed the team’s last game against OKC and New York fell to 0-5 on the year without the nine-time all-star.
Arron Afflalo (13.9 PPG) tried to pick up the slack in Anthony’s absence and finished the game with 17 points, but he was an inefficient 6 of 21 from the floor.
The Raptors, meanwhile, have rolled to nine straight wins and quietly moved into second place in the East, 2.5 games back of Cleveland. The team hasn’t lost since falling to those Cavaliers on January 4. The Raps cruised past the Wizards (106-89) last time out, sweeping the season series from the squad that eliminated them from last year’s playoffs.
Toronto now has its own injury concerns, though. Point guard and all-star Kyle Lowry (20.9 PPG, 6.4 APG) suffered a wrist injury against Washington and is questionable for tonight’s game.
Missing Lowry would be a big blow. Texas product Cory Joseph (8.4 PPG, 3.0 APG) would likely have to eat up most of Lowry’s 36 minutes.
Keep an eye on the status of Melo and Lowry for tonight. If the Toronto guard is a go, roll with the Raptors to continue their hot streak and roll over the ebbing Knicks.
Pick: Toronto (-8.5).
(Photo credit: michalkajzerek (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)