New York Knicks vs Toronto Raptors: Lineups, preview & prediction 2/8/18

Coming off a huge win, the Toronto Raptors look to avoid a letdown Thursday night when they face a New York Knicks team reeling from the loss of Kristaps Porzingis.

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(Photo credit: Shaheen Karolia)

The Raptors (37-16) formally served notice to the Boston Celtics they will challenge them for the Atlantic Division title and the top seed in the Eastern Conference after hammering them 111-91 on Tuesday night.

Kyle Lowry hit six 3-pointers and scored 23 points, but it was the second unit paced by C. J. Miles, Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright who gave Toronto control of the game in the second quarter and combined for 44 of the Raptors’ 59 bench points. The win moved the Raptors one game behind the Celtics and evened the season series at one victory each.

As Toronto appear poised to make a run to the top of the Eastern Conference, New York (23-32) have been left in dire straits for at least the rest of this season following the season-ending injury to leading scorer Kristaps Porzingis on Tuesday night. The All-Star forward crumpled to the court in the second quarter after an awkward landing following a dunk, and an MRI revealed the worst fears of the Knicks as the burgeoning 7′ 3″ star suffered a torn ACL that will sideline him at least nine months.

The Knicks could not recover in the second half without Porzingis and his 22.7 points per game in a 103-89 loss to Milwaukee as their losing streak reached four games. New York suffered a second injury scare when second-leading scorer Tim Hardaway Jr. was forced to leave the game after being inadvertently kicked in the leg by Giannis Antetokounmpo, hitting the same leg that had a stress reaction that forced him to miss six weeks.

Hardaway Jr. is questionable for this game, but Michael Beasley is all but certain to start in Porzingis’ place at power forward and has averaged 12.4 points and 5.1 rebounds. 

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