Happy birthday Stephon Marbury. Just because I know what it’s like to be forgotten on your birthday, this one is for you. This one is for all the people back on Coney Island who remember you for what you were back in your high school days, an absolute stud. That’s all.
Okay, so on to the matchup. You have to wonder what the Knicks were thinking at the trade deadline. Picking up Larry Hughes, while losing Jerome James, Tim Thomas and Anthony Roberson seems like a positive, but overall, I’m not so sure. Hughes wasn’t going to be getting much playing time and didn’t want to be there, so the time and price was right for the Knicks. What makes me nervous is that Hughes doesn’t always have the best attitude and for a team that has had its share of attitudes in the past few years, I’m not sure if that’s something they really want to have to deal with again. Just when it looks like the Knicks are starting to go in the right direction, they make a deal that could send them right back where they came from.
I’m not sure what the point was of the Wilcox - Rose deal, as the contracts pretty much cancel each other out and are expiring at the end of the year. The move doesn’t really bring anything to either team, so you would have to wonder what the point was.
Hopefully, the Raptors will be able to take care of a Knicks team that is clearly in transition. I don’t know who is going to be in the Knicks lineup on Friday, but whether the new players will be on the court or not, the Raptors should be looking to get a quick upper hand, playing either a short bench or a team with no cohesion. Then again, that description kind of sounds like the Raptors, doesn’t it?
Last season, Jamal Crawford averaged 30.5 points in four games, including a 43-point performance at MSG in a win. The Raptors will have to get up on him, because he hasn’t been nearly as lethal putting the ball on the floor against the Raptors as he has been shooting it.
For the Raptors, we are probably going to see if they can handle some movement, as the new Knicks seem to be buying into D’Antoni’s run and gun style. They’re not putting up tons of points, but that’s simply because they don’t have the talent base there. It certainly hasn’t been because they aren’t pushing the ball up the floor.
The Raptors are going to need Andrea to wake up in this game and now that Marion has a little better idea who guys are on the team, I think he just might saw a few things to Bargs that will hopefully get the fire going inside of him. Now that Jermaine isn’t around to push Bargs, it is up to Andrea to have a few breakout games.
3 in the Key
1. Make the Knicksk try to beat you inside. The Raptors are quicker and have good enough D inside to make it difficult.
2. Run with the Knicks. The Raptors bench is short, but so is the Knicks. The faster they can get into that, the better.
3. Rebound. Marion showed some presence the other night, so let’s see what comes out of tonight.