Game Notes:

  1. Kyle Lowry is so damn good. That’s all that needs to be said. The Knicks had absolutely no one who could even slow him down. He’s incredible.
  2. I like that the Raptors are looking for Jonas Valanciunas more often. They had several sets, whether it was off pick-and-roll, or some kind of drive-and-dish, where the guards weren’t shy of lofting a pass to Jonas. He might not have the hops, but he’s a massive target and he has soft hands.
  3. That being said, I would have liked to see Valanciunas lock down on the defensive glass. Robin Lopez absolutely tore into him to start the game, and look, Lopez is an amazing offensive rebounder, but Valanciunas needs to really dominate the defensive glass if he’s to anchor those Patterson/Carroll at 4 smallball units
  4. Melo still got his, but James Johnson was really solid on defense. The reason he’s here is to check those bullyball wings, and Johnson has the perfect build. If only JJ could be more decisive with the ball (drive, shoot, or swing; no more holding it and looking around), he’d be less of a drain on the starting lineup.
  5. Jose Calderon’s matador defense is much easier on the eyes when he’s not wearing a Raptors uniform.
  6. Strong bounceback performance for DeMar DeRozan. He forced it a little too much over the last two games. Tonight he was decisive, direct, and efficient. If his man played him too close, he would cut away from the man and get open for baseline looks. If they played doubled, he would find the open man. Keep making the simple play.
  7. When the Knicks go to the Porzingis/Melo frontcourt, they’re really tough to stop. The spacing that combination creates is incredible, and they’re both triple threats (drive, shoot, pass) which makes sending help incredible difficult.
  8. Shoutout to Knicks fans for (a) booing the team midway through the third quarter, and (b) shamelessly chanting for Jimmer Fredette to check in.
  9. MSG’s theatre lighting is making me miss All-Star stuff. Let’s do that at the ACC.
  10. Credit to Dwane Casey to having his team ready to play on the second night of a back-to-back. Very pleased with the Raptors’ compete level.



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