New York (16-22 overall, 9-10 at home, 11-14 in conference) on the heals of a stolen win in Philadelphia looks to get to .500 at home. Toronto (19-20 overall, 7-14 on road, 13-13 in conference) has dropped its last two games. Toronto is not a strong road team. Toronto is 5-13 in conference road games with only 1 win against a team with a record above .500. Toronto is 4-3 on the road against conference rivals with records below .500. Yeah, I’m not sure what the point of all that is either. But it’s doubtful anyone reads this anyway. Oh well, to the stats!
What to watch for: Toronto defense
Toronto ranks in the bottom third of the NBA in every defensive four factor. The team is dead last in defensive efficiency (113) and they are near the bottom in turnovers forced, and defensive rebounds secured. Toronto’s defense plus their poor road record gives the Knicks a good shot tonight. Of Toronto’s 4 road wins against sub .500 conference foes, 3 wins came against teams in the bottom third of the NBA in offensive efficiency (Chicago, Washington, and Detroit). Toronto dropped road games to the Pacers (27th in offensive EFF) and the Milwaukee (25th). So with this defense, the Raptor can lose on the road any given night. Let’s hope tonight is one of those nights.
What to watch for 2: 5 on 4 and a half?
I don’t think Jeffries is as much a hindrance on offense as he appears to be. Do I think JJ is a talented offensive player? By no means. Does JJ struggle to score on a consistent basis? Sure. So why do I not view JJ as an offensive hindrance? Well, I remember watching two other offensive talents grind the Knick offense to a stop: Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry. Zach Randolph has vast offensive talent, but his poor shot selection, reluctance to pass, and this killed the New York offense in his tenure. Eddy Curry has a turnover rate above 30. Sure, Jeffries’ turnover rate of 14 isnt great, but next to Curry Jeffries is Jason Kidd. Plus Jeffries rebounds, something Curry never did well. In defense of Jeffries I’d like to note that JJ has the lowest USG-r on the team at 9.3. Curry’s is 26 and the team was getting nothing out of it. At least JJ tries to limit his drag on the offense. JJ had one of his better games as a Knicks against the Sixers. Given Toronto’s poor defense, he may have another strong showing all while rebounding, playing defense, and helping out in anyway that he can. The point is that JJ is not as bad as he seems, at least not in comparison to Randolph and Curry.
In game thoughts here.