2021-22 Game Thread: Some of the Knicks @ Almost all of the Raptors

This is going to be a weird one.

The Knicks will be without Randle, Mitch, Kemba, Noel, Rose…it’s not a healthy roster.

But hey, Obi had a really good game against the Raptors the last time that these two teams played, so hopefully he has a breakout game today! The Knicks are currently tenth in the Eastern Conference and the Raptors are eleventh. The top ten teams all play in the play-in tournament, so let’s see if the Knicks can hang in the top ten!

Let’s go, Knicks!

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144 thoughts to “2021-22 Game Thread: Some of the Knicks @ Almost all of the Raptors”

  1. From the last thread.

    So the lineups:
    Starters: Taj, Obi, RJ, Fournier, Deuce
    Reserves: Knox, IQ, Burks, assorted scrubs

    I think you forgot Grimes. If Fournier plays, we should have 9 available players (plus Dotson and Mooney).

  2. First time of the season that Toronto has the full lineup… aren’t we lucky?

    Let’s Go Young & Undersized Knicks!

  3. cybersoze:
    From the last thread.

    I think you forgot Grimes. If Fournier plays, we should have 9 available players (plus Dotson and Mooney).

    Oops, thx!

  4. Toronto start 5-5 with 4 baskets in the paint…

    One ankle, two ankles, three ankles… Fournier’s defense is always shit.

  5. It’s not very high on the list of reasons we’re pretty bad but the decision to prioritize Taj’s roster spot over…a certain other way that roster spot could’ve been used is not aging well

  6. Love the way Obi is playing. Don’t love much else but we have that going for us.

    Playing basketball against OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes seems like a shitty way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

  7. Max:
    For now it’s the perfect snapshot of two teams going in opposite directions…

    Given that the Knicks are ravaged by Covid and the Raptors have basically a full team, that’s it’s halfway through the first quarter, and that the Knicks actually have the better record at the moment, this may be my favorite take of the year.

  8. Obi is basically playing like we all want Randle to play. We won’t win but at least so far I am enjoying the game.

  9. d-mar:
    Jets snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

    4th and 2 sneak… how pathetic a call is that… my favorite is, ok, maybe we kick that FG and its 27-20… Bucs still score and still go for 2… 28-27… it was written like that… or 28-24…

  10. watching everyone trying to go one on one is maddening… also, watching kevin knox taking one giant step before dribbling… thats fun actually

  11. I don’t see any way Toronto doesn’t finish top 8 in the East, they are loaded with talent

  12. Playing much better D this quarter, but can’t buy a shot. And I mean a shot as in getting one off, much less making one…

  13. KJG: watching everyone trying to go one on one is maddening…

    At some point we gotta put this on Thibs, we always revert to this no matter who is on the court.

  14. I’d like to watch Obi play with CP3, but I’d be fine with someone capable of doing basic entry passes against mismatches and able to hit cutting players at the right time…

  15. There’s a joke to be made about how Raptors are supposed to have short arms

  16. watching everyone trying to go one on one is maddening… also, watching kevin knox taking one giant step before dribbling… thats fun actually

    I’m not really getting this impression actually. I think they’re trying to move the ball decently enough, there are just Raptor arms everywhere.

  17. Kevin is really an expert at knoxing the ball out of bounds, including out of his teammates’ hands…

  18. Raven: Kevin is really an expert at knoxing the ball out of bounds, including out of his teammates’ hands…

    But i liked the effort. Previous seasons Knox wouldn’t even be near the ball.

  19. Well at least the youngsters are getting invaluable experience in getting their asses kicked

  20. thenoblefacehumper: I’m not really getting this impression actually. I think they’re trying to move the ball decently enough, there are just Raptor arms everywhere.

    i see guys trying to be playmakers but arent… it has the look of overmatched one-on-one where our guys cant make a play… it probably not supposed to be one on one… i acknowledge and enjoy the passes around the perimeter… the humorous part is there’s no play made prior so all the defenders are still at home… its a passing drill…

  21. I was ready for our typical 3rd quarter meltdown, but today they decided to do it in the 2nd.

  22. i see guys trying to be playmakers but arent… it has the look of overmatched one-on-one where our guys cant make a play

    I mean yeah, I think with Kemba and Rose out this is pretty much par for the course. We’re woefully overmatched talent wise today and I think they’re mostly doing what they can.

    I can’t fathom returning Obi to 10 minutes per game status.

  23. Is that a foul on FVV by Burks? :O

    Edit: I don’t understand the refs this season, some games they let guys play, others they whistle for minor things.

  24. The party most to blame for today’s performance is honestly the front office. There is pretty much no injury/Covid situation that should render things like “playing Taj Gibson 40 minutes” and “Kevin Knox at center lineups” the best options available.

  25. cybersoze:
    Is that a foul on FVV by Burks? :O

    Edit: I don’t understand the refs this season, some games they let guys play, others they whistle for minor things.

    Siakam just blatantly fouled RJ on that rebound

  26. Obi is not as versatile of a scorer as Randle, but imo he’d add more value at PF if we were starting either Rose or Kemba at PG and had that extra scorer on the court. It wouldn’t be so much what he can do. It would be what he won’t do. He’s way more likely to stay within his game and be efficient at what he does well even if on lower volume.

  27. d-mar: Siakam just blatantly fouled RJ on that rebound

    Exactly. Thank you. I was starting to think i was going mad. LOL

  28. Can we trade Barrett and Fournier at halftime for the constantly referenced ‘center off the scrapheap’?

    Or do they not really exist?

  29. Obi is not as versatile of a scorer as Randle, but imo he’d add more value at PF if we were starting either Rose or Kemba at PG and had that extra scorer on the court. It wouldn’t be so much what he can do. It would be what he won’t do. He’s way more likely to stay within his game and be efficient at what he does well even if on lower volume.

    I mostly agree with all of this but with the caveat that we don’t actually know if Randle is a versatile scorer because the one season he looked like one is looking increasingly like a mirage. If anything, we’d be better off this season if Randle stopped trying to be a versatile scorer.

  30. Maybe pt milo can find this: is there a stat for shots blocked? Because RJ would definitely lead the league

  31. yeah, without any point guard, i’m not sure we’re getting any real good data as to what the team looks like offensively without randle in there…this is just throw whoever you have out there and wish for the best, plus, the raptors aren’t that terrible…

  32. I’m vacillating between thinking we’re not that far behind and maybe we could win and thinking we are total toast.

  33. I think McBride didn’t get many minutes because Thibs decided he couldn’t afford his lack of scoring.

  34. I don’t know who started it, but there’s no way to compare Obi and Randle. One is probably a fringe starter on a good team, or energy boost from the bench. The other, well the other already has all star and all NBA on his resume. I’m finding Randle’s season very frustrating, but to think Obi can be a good replacement for Randle is hilarious.
    Now, to change from Randle to another alpha we can get by trading him, and that alpha playing another position therefore promoting Obi to starter. That can work. To replace Randle with Obi definitely wouldn’t work.

  35. Knick fan not in NJ:
    I think McBride didn’t get many minutes because Thibs decided he couldn’t afford his lack of scoring.

    That would make sense except that IQ and Grimes have 7 points between them.

    Meanwhile the mighty RJ has 6. And two bad turnovers (and a bunch of poor decisions). But play on MacDuff!

  36. thenoblefacehumper: I mostly agree with all of this but with the caveat that we don’t actually know if Randle is a versatile scorer because the one season he looked like one is looking increasingly like a mirage. If anything, we’d be better off this season if Randle stopped trying to be a versatile scorer.

    I was suggesting that Randle is a little better off the dribble, taking tough shots, and 3s, but we don’t necessarily want him doing that unless it’s late in the clock and he happens to have the ball. Obi knows not to try to create something out of nothing unless he has to. Randle does not. Definitely agree on that last sentence.

  37. We’re going to win because we’re going to foul out the entire Toronto team.

    Then again we can’t make open layups, so it’s possible we still lose.

  38. I don’t know who started it, but there’s no way to compare Obi and Randle. One is probably a fringe starter on a good team, or energy boost from the bench. The other, well the other already has all star and all NBA on his resume. I’m finding Randle’s season very frustrating, but to think Obi can be a good replacement for Randle is hilarious.

    Seems a bit premature to put this ceiling on a 2nd year player averaging 19-9 per 36 with a 60% TS.

    Again, the question with Randle is the proper weight to assign the 2020-2021 season because that’s where the bulk of his resume comes from. Personally, as I look around the league I’m starting to think that season is just not that great of a datapoint. Seth Partnow has talked about this a bit and I find it convincing.

  39. Barrett’s imitating Randle to perfection, including bitching with teammates while playing like shit…

  40. “RJ pointing at everyone — RJ could’ve taken him!”

    Wally speaking truth (!). Shame on RJ twice.

  41. Raven: That would make sense except that IQ and Grimes have 7 points between them.

    Meanwhile the mighty RJ has 6. And two bad turnovers (and a bunch of poor decisions). But play on MacDuff!

    True. But Burks seems to be getting more minutes than usual and he has 11 points in 17 minutes.

  42. Italian broadcast:
    Great job from Barrett, pointing to Toppin to justify his own mistake.

    :-)

  43. thenoblefacehumper: Again, the question with Randle is the proper weight to assign the 2020-2021 season because that’s where the bulk of his resume comes from. Personally, as I look around the league I’m starting to think that season is just not that great of a datapoint.

    That’s fair, so we have to wait. Maybe last season he pulled a Oladipo one season wonder, maybe not. I still think he can get back to that level. What i don’t like is his style of play, that’s why i’d be interested in trading him, but only if it’s for another good player at what i think is Randle’s level.

  44. Barrett us making a lot of mistakes but at least he’s also scoring one on one while defended

  45. McBride’s gotta be hurt, would be very dramatic to not even start him in the 2nd half.

  46. I think our fight is somewhat admirable but we don’t have the horses offensively to hang in there. I’m shocked Toronto’s defensive rating isn’t higher, gotta think that’s largely health related and it’ll skyrocket soon.

  47. I have defended Fournier to some extent but I’m just about done with all of that

  48. Toronto players I would take over any Knicks player hands down:

    FVV
    Siakam
    Barnes
    Anouby

    Did I miss anyone?

  49. Barnes is better than i imagined, when i was analyzing the 2021 draft list. I think i didn’t have him with our pick (not going to say the number! :P). What do i know, right? :/

  50. d-mar:
    Toronto players I would take over any Knicks player hands down:

    FVV
    Siakam
    Barnes
    Anouby

    Did I miss anyone?

    Can I have their coach please?

  51. FVV is playing for the poster that said we should have traded for him. Was it Donnie?

  52. Super glad we’ve buried McBride. Clear poseur. Doesn’t play with intensity, doesn’t play defense. Thank god our other guys have managed to limit Fred to 35 points in three quarters.

    That’s what I call coaching.

  53. We need some long, active wings like Toronto has. Obi is the only Knick out there who isn’t physically overmatched.

  54. Of all the players we’re missing, I’d argue Mitch’s absence is the most glaring. Toronto has gotten whatever they’ve wanted at the rim.

    Kemba and Rose are tied for a close second of course because we do not have any point guards.

  55. Deuce, no matter what he did to get the ire of Thibs today, could not have done any worse than the veterans guarding Van Vleet.

  56. cybersoze: I’d very much like if we can find a good PG first.

    They don’t grow on trees. We should have overpaid for FVV.

  57. Okay if McBride wasn’t hurt that’s an insanely weird decision for so many reasons

  58. That was like a fever dream. RJ throws the ball away for no good reason, and gets subbed out for Deuce.

  59. thenoblefacehumper:
    Okay if McBride wasn’t hurt that’s an insanely weird decision for so many reasons

    Agree. McBride didn’t do anything worse than our other players. He should have played major minutes today.

  60. Okay if McBride wasn’t hurt that’s an insanely weird decision for so many reasons

    It’s not weird, it’s just Thibs… and that’s really sad

  61. Grimes can play some really good defense. I wish he had the length of some of Toronto’s wings but at least he has potential.

  62. Kevin Knox with the only Knicks block. Sometimes circumstantial evidence is all that’s needed.

  63. Forget being a lottery pick, how was Kevin Knox even a highly regarded high school recruit?

  64. thenoblefacehumper: Forget being a lottery pick, how was Kevin Knox even a highly regarded high school recruit?

    Taken from the “Why you shouldn’t make an NBA pick based on a 3-on-3 game” book

  65. cybersoze: Taken from the “Why you shouldn’t make an NBA pick based on a 3-on-3 game” book

    Haters. Only guy on the team with a non-negative plus/minus.

    Okay, it was a zero. But still.

  66. Raven: Haters. Only guy on the team with a non-negative plus/minus.
    Okay, it was a zero. But still.

    Kevin Knox a zero? That checks out in my book. LOL

  67. A few random thoughts.

    Obi’s not bad. In a year, with a long off-season of practice, he could even become good. Given how utterly horrid he was most of last year, his being not bad makes him a candidate for Most Improved Player, if it’s done on a relative basis.

    Grimes needs playing time. Wet jumper and four steals.

    Deuce should’ve played more. He looks quite competent, but that’s a terrible shooting slump he’s currently in. He needs to get out of that or it’s going to get hard to criticize Thibs for not playing him (which I’ll do anyway).

    Barrett’s been playing like an over-privileged asshole.

    And Fournier. Leads the team in points, shoots 40% from 3, 50% from 2, 100% from the line, and I wanted a hole in the court to open and swallow him up.

  68. to be honest I watched a few minutes of the first quarter and then I forgot the Knicks were playing so I don’t know what happened in this game

  69. Obi’s not bad. In a year, with a long off-season of practice, he could even become good. Given how utterly horrid he was most of last year, his being not bad makes him a candidate for Most Improved Player, if it’s done on a relative basis.

    It seems I have become Obi Toppin’s biggest supporter here after I may or may not have spent an offseason arguing he should be traded for Colin Sexton, because I kind of think he’s already good and the offseason of practice could get him into “special” territory. The 3PT shot will be the swing factor and I’m bullish.

    He’s obviously not a point forward by any stretch, but I like the reads he makes on the short roll and he generally seems to keep the ball moving in a productive fashion. If anything, I’d like to see him be more aggressive offensively–I think there’s a bit of untapped creation ability in there even if it’s just posting up mismatches initially.

    And Fournier. Leads the team in points, shoots 40% from 3, 50% from 2, 100% from the line, and I wanted a hole in the court to open and swallow him up.

    I was specifically warned by Celtics fans that he’s one of the biggest “the numbers make him look better than he is” guys in the league and I wrote them off as salty.

    Whoops.

  70. For now it’s the perfect snapshot of two teams going in opposite directions…

    We’re undermanned by Covid and injuries, the Raptors had their full roster for the first time this year.

    We started the season well, they hadn’t, but now they’re up in the standings.

    They have a very good coach, unafraid to play whoever. Our coach punished his rookie point guard for a mistake.

    We would be without our best player (Rose) for another couple of months.

    We don’t know how bad Kemba’s new injury is, the signing of Arcidiacono is not encouraging in that regard.

    Our schedule will get very difficult in a couple of weeks.

    Three quarters later the snapshot has become a short film ready for the Sundance Film Festival…

    The Raptors will be a pain in the ass for many teams.

  71. Hypothetically if we got the 1st pick who would you guys want. Jaden Ivey is so fun to watch you just know he will be a dynamic guard at the next level.

  72. Obi with 6 assists, he need a PG and a summer of work on his three point shot…

    Barrett with the fake boxscore, he should have been the leader and set the tone, he played without fire instead.

    Fournier did nothing except shots, turnovers and fouls (no REB, no AST, no STL). His defense was obscene. If he’s hurt stop the macho shit and don’t play him, if he is not hurt… play Grimes.

    Deuce’s long benching is another Thibsie thing, probably not the last one.

    I didn’t like IQ game, Burks wasn’t sharp too but at least he had 5 steals.

  73. As you know, I’m not an Obi fan, but I actually saw him dona couple of post ups and get good shots up and that was more than I expected

  74. Where do the Heat find these guys? Some dude named Omer Yurtseven started at center for them and put up 22 points and 16 rebounds vs Sacto

  75. d-mar:
    Where do the Heat find these guys? Some dude named Omer Yurtseven started at center for them and put up 22 points and 16 rebounds vs Sacto

    Is he related to Illya Kuryakin?

  76. “He’s a terrific player,’’ Thibodeau said when asked about the online clamoring for Toppin. “It’s the day and age of social media, and that’s what social media is. You try not to pay attention to it, because it’s really meaningless, whether it’s praise or criticism. It doesn’t really matter. Really, what matters is what we think. And so, we know how important he is. But it’s like the backup quarterback. Everyone thinks the backup should start until he has to start.’’

  77. But he’s actually right. Lots of people on this blog thought Obi should get more time than Randle until the last two games showed Randle starts for a reason. That’s what he is talking about.

  78. Knicks Fan, not sure that’s an accurate representation. Pretty much everyone thought 12 minutes of Obi a night was ludicrous, especially as the guy starting in front of him was shitting the bed. Many of us were (still are) excited to see how he does as a starter, since 12 minutes a night tells us very little. A few people were making really good statistical arguments that the team does quite a bit better with Randle off the floor. I’m not sure many were arguing to start Obi over Randle when both were available (although many said Randle should sit for a while in the hopes he can get his head straight).

    I agree with Brian it’s a weird, weird thing to say. Obi’s not a 6-8 year vet with a proven weak arm. And frankly, much as I hate him, a young Tom Brady was once a backup quarterback.

  79. But he’s actually right. Lots of people on this blog thought Obi should get more time than Randle until the last two games showed Randle starts for a reason. That’s what he is talking about.

    Did you watch today’s game and think “the problem was the production we got from the power forward position?” The game Obi had probably would’ve been one of Randle’s 10 or so best games of the season, and it was literally the first time all season Obi got 30+ minutes.

    Thibs’ comment was incredibly weird. You drafted the guy in the lottery a little over a year ago, he’s been the best per-minute player on the team this year, and you compare him to, like, Geno Smith or some shit?

    I’m starting to get mad on Obi’s behalf, especially considering the guy has done nothing but try to fit in, sometimes arguably to his own detriment, since coming here.

  80. pepper:
    “He’s a terrific player,’’ Thibodeau said when asked about the online clamoring for Toppin. “It’s the day and age of social media, and that’s what social media is. You try not to pay attention to it, because it’s really meaningless, whether it’s praise or criticism. It doesn’t really matter. Really, what matters is what we think. And so, we know how important he is. But it’s like the backup quarterback. Everyone thinks the backup should start until he has to start.’’

    There, Thibs. This is what you should’ve said.

  81. TNFH, Obi scored as many points tonight in 45 minutes as Randle averages in 35 minutes. He had a similar number assists in 45 minutes to what Randle gets in 35 minutes and he had many fewer rebounds. So while it was definitely a good game for Obi, I don’t see how it could match one of Randle’s ten best games of the season.

    And I watched today’s game and didn’t think our problem was the power forward position. I thought we have no defense down low and we were often going on scoring droughts and made too many mistakes. We also got out rebounded 44 to 30, part of which was probably Obi, since he had a total of six rebounds in 45 minutes.

    Raven, I don’t want to quibble over what people thought should be done with Obi. Overall, this game suggests they were right, he’s a reasonable NBA power forward. But he is in back of Randle and this game did not show he was better than Randle. And even though I like on off stats, I don’t think the on off numbers for Randle tell a true tale. They show that our second unit is very good but our second unit is mostly matched up with other second units and usually has had Rose leading it.

  82. KFNINJ, i’m sorry but i think there’s no excuse for those words. I hope by now Thibs is already regretting that quarterback part of the answer. Now, to help understand why he said it, looks like the question was about social media criticism of Julius Randle. Thibs was trying to protect his star player from criticism, but clearly used the wrong words, putting Obi under the fire needlessly.

  83. On the one hand you have the Raptors and their drafting and their scouting and their player development, and on the other hand you have … Tom Thibodeau.

  84. Cybersoze, maybe he shouldn’t have said but basically he said Obi is terrific and Randle is even better. I’m not bothered by it.

  85. Publicly denominating your hyper-athletic second year 8th OA pick who’s on a clear upward trajectory a “backup quarterback” is almost beyond satire.

  86. He meant it in an Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady kind of way perhaps.

    I don’t know, just seems like infelicitious phrasing for a press conference.

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