The red-hot New York Knicks will continue their seven-game homestand by hosting the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon. The two sides have already met twice this season and have come away with a win apiece.
The Toronto Raptors have had to deal with a ton of issues this season. They were forced to relocate to Tampa due to the pandemic and looked ready to blow things apart to begin a rebuild. But their recent four-game winning run has put them right back in the play-in picture. They're now just one game behind the 10th placed Washington Wizards.
Meanwhile, it's been a complete success story for the New York Knicks. They've won eight matchups on the trot and are in line to finish as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks have come together on the defensive end and Julius Randle has run the show on offense, averaging 23.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game.
Toronto Raptors vs New York Knicks: Injury Report
The Toronto Raptors welcomed back Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby in their last game against the Brooklyn Nets. The injury bug didn't spare them, though, as center Chris Boucher suffered an MCL sprain. He's sidelined for at least a week.
Rodney Hood missed out against Brooklyn and is still questionable with a hip flexor strain. Other injury absences for the Toronto Raptors include Paul Watson (left knee tendonitis) and Jalen Harris (right knee pointer).
New York Knicks
Alec Burks has missed the last four games due to the NBA's health and safety protocols and he'll remain sidelined for the New York Knicks on Saturday as well. Burks has been the Knicks' fourth-highest scorer this season, averaging 12.6 points per game.
Both Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson suffered facial injuries during the New York Knicks' game against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. Both have been cleared to play against the Toronto Raptors. Meanwhile, Mitchell Robinson continues to rehab after undergoing surgery on his right foot.
Toronto Raptors vs New York Knicks: Predicted Lineups
The Toronto Raptors haven't had the luxury of fielding the same lineup on consecutive occasions, but that's likely to be the case on Saturday.
Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet will form the starting backcourt for the Raptors against the Knicks. OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam should be occupying the two forward spots. Meanwhile, Khem Birch will slot in as the center in the absence of Chris Boucher.
Expect the likes of Gary Trent Jr. and Malachi Flynn to play crucial roles off the bench. Freddie Gillespie could also chime in with a few defensive plays.
New York Knicks
Elfrid Payton generally doesn't feature in end-of-game lineups for the New York Knicks, but he's still the preferred starter for Tom Thibodeau in the backcourt. Reggie Bullock will slot in beside him as the shooting guard.
RJ Barrett has truly impressed fans with his growth and has made the small forward spot his own. He has ably supported Julius Randle, who's the de facto leader of the New York Knicks this season and will start at power forward. Nerlens Noel will round out the starting five.
Derrick Rose's contributions have only improved over time and he'll be looking to make a splash off the bench. The same goes for rookie Immanuel Quickley.
Toronto Raptors vs New York Knicks: Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard - Kyle Lowry | Shooting Guard - Fred VanVleet | Small Forward - OG Anunoby | Power Forward - Pascal Siakam | Center - Khem Birch
New York Knicks
Point Guard - Elfrid Payton | Shooting Guard - Reggie Bullock | Small Forward - RJ Barrett | Power Forward - Julius Randle | Center - Nerlens Noel