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So, lets all agree to forget about last night. It never happened.
The Toronto Raptors will face the New York Knicks tonight in their first action since Tuesday against the Dallas Mavericks. They’ll try to avoid dropping their fourth straight after winning four straight against play-off calibre opponents.
Cage’s Keys to the Game:
Don’t Let the Offence Stagnate
The Raptors have had four days to think about their fourth quarter collapse against the Mavericks. Outscored 25-15 in the frame, the offence just kind of stopped. They shot 6-19 in the frame, and committed six turnovers. The offence bogs down into one-on-one too often, settling for contested mid-range shots. Now, this works for players like DeMar DeRozan and Lou Williams. Their ability to hit those tough shots makes them feared weapons on that end of the floor. However, when the game tightens up and the shots aren’t falling, there needs to be more ball movement, and a better attempt at getting easier shots. Their game against the New Orleans Pelicans was another example of this stagnation.
Get Lowry Going
In the last three Raptors losses, Kyle Lowry has shot 14/47 from the floor, and 3/22 from distance. Fatigue is certainly an issue; Lowry never dealt with the amount of responsibility he had during DeRozan’s absence. Minor injuries that Lowry’s been playing through have also been a factor. However, he needs to work to get himself easier shots until he gets out of this shooting funk. The Raptors should try using more of Greivis Vasquez in tandem with Lowry in an attempt to give their best player easier looks.
Come Out Strong, Finish Strong
Frankly, the Knicks are wretched. With Carmelo Anthony gone due to injury, this is the worst team in the N.B.A. The Raptors need to keep and maintain focus throughout. At 37-20, and only one game up on the Chicago Bulls for the second seed, they can’t let this game slip away. Take care of business.
X-Factor: Kyle Lowry
In a match-up with Langston Galloway and the Knicks, this where Lowry can turn it around. The Raptors will need Lowry to be at his best to advance to the second of the play-offs for the second time in franchise history. There’s no better time to start than tonight.
One more thing
Obviously the Raptors lost to the Golden State Warriors last night. They were eviscerated. The only thing they can do is pick themselves back up and beat the Knicks. Just as we shouldn’t get too excited about a beat down in Atlanta, we shouldn’t get too down after last night. Even if we do want to forget about last night.