Tom Thibodeau
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks had a rough night against the shorthanded Toronto Raptors.

The New York Knicks should have won Monday’s matchup with the Toronto Raptors, but Toronto had other ideas.

Even with Pascal Siakam and star rookie Scottie Barnes out with injuries, the Raptors’ defense literally suffocated the Knicks. Turnovers were rampant, momentum was hard to come by, and New York looked like it didn’t know what to do in a 113-104 loss. Between rewatching this game and sitting in traffic on the FDR Drive for two hours, more than you think might choose the latter.

The Knicks are still a good team, but this also marks three games in a row where they failed to hold a big lead. No one person or moment is to blame, though losing Taj Gibson to an ankle injury didn’t help.

The Toronto Raptors were just that good, and the New York Knicks were just that bad.


The New York Knicks were sloppy again

For the third game in a row, the Knicks failed to keep up their momentum with a big lead. They led by as many as 15 in the first half and got outscored 78-54 the rest of the way. They shot 52.6% from three in the first half, and that number fell to 43.2 for the whole game.

Even worse, the New York Knicks failed to protect the ball and committed an uncharacteristic 16 turnovers.  Even at 5-2, the team’s weaknesses are obvious now and Tom Thibodeau will need to adjust accordingly.



Swarming Raptors defense

The New York Knicks weren’t done any favors by the Raptors’ absolutely devastating man-to-man defense. Toronto’s defense held New York to 22 points in the third quarter and let the Raptors take the game over. By then, the Knicks were so exhausted from trying to overcome the Raptors’ aggressive approach that any comeback was futile.

Jurassic Park had it right from the get-go. The raptor attacks not from the back, nor the front, but the sides.



OG Baller

The Raptors’ defense wasn’t the only star of the show either. OG Anunoby was a threat from everywhere and led Toronto with a career-best 36 points.

No Pascal Siakam or Scottie Barnes? No problem. Anunoby was simply dominant and the New York Knicks had no answers for him.


Player of the Game: RJ Barrett

RJ Barrett continued his hot streak even as his New York Knicks struggled. Though his team’s back was against the wall, he still managed 27 points on 13 shots with five threes. He simply refused to let the Raptors’ defense beat him.



Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.