Another late surge falls short as the Toronto Raptors fall to the New York Knicks

Nickeem Khan
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Saturday, January 7, 2023

The struggles of the Toronto Raptors continue as they lose their third straight game at the hands of the New York Knicks to a score of 112-108. This was the Knicks' first win in Toronto since 2015. Despite all the positives that the Raptors display surrounding their effort, none of it means anything if they continue to result in losses and this game is a fine example of that.

Offensively, the Raptors came out of the gates much better than in their last game against the Milwaukee Bucks. However, Julius Randle was on fire and they couldn't contain him early. He knocked down five threes in the first quarter alone, en route to finishing the game with 32 points. Considering the way Pascal Siakam dominated their matchup the last time these two teams faced off, as he finished with 52 points, it was clear Randle wanted to prove that he is on the same level if not greater.

Unfortunately, Siakam wasn't able to replicate the same success he had in the Garden. He finished with just 18 points on 4-14 shooting, while also turning the ball over five times. With Toronto's All-NBA star struggling they needed others to carry the load and that happened to come from their backcourt.

Fred VanVleet has knowingly struggled this season and recently dropped down to having the lowest field goal percentage in the NBA, has started to turn things around throughout the past two games. The reigning All-Star finished with 28 points and set the tone for the Raptors offensively. Gary Trent Jr. was stellar alongside VanVleet contributing 27 points himself. Although the backcourt for Toronto played great, there was still a huge disparity.

Once Toronto put their second unit in there was a clear drop off in productivity. Although both teams finished with the same amount of bench points with 15 points it was clear that the Knicks' reserves were more impactful and that is reflected in plus/minus. Miles McBride finished with a +14, which is greater than any player on the Raptors' bench.

Offensive droughts continue to haunt the Raptors as they shot just 42 percent from the field, despite their last-minute efforts. This next stretch of games will be pivotal for Toronto and their future regarding the direction they go. They will look to snap this losing streak against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday at 3:30 PM ET.