Toronto Raptors continue to impress with key players out of lineup

Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (3) hangs on the rim after dunking against the New York Knicks. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (3) hangs on the rim after dunking against the New York Knicks. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Playing under the bright lights of New York, the Toronto Raptors got some big performances in a statement victory over the Knicks.

Without rookie sensation Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam still working towards his season debut, the Toronto Raptors were going to need a few players to step up against the New York Knicks.

It wasn’t the best start for Toronto but as we have seen them do this season, they have been able to keep games close with their defensive play. The Raptors needed to find a spark for their lack of three-point shooting in the first half.

Toronto was going up against a Knicks team that features a top-tier offence and a good defence to go along with it. The Raptors’ identity this season has been to rely on creating shots through turnovers and rebounding especially with them sitting at 32.5 per cent from beyond the arc.

It wasn’t until Nick Nurse brought in Malachi Fynn and Justin Champagnie with five minutes left in the second quarter that the team started to turn things around. This allowed the team to cut down the Knicks lead to within four heading into the second half.

Of course, the best performances came from OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., and Fred VanVleet who were entrusted to play a significant role and delivered. Anunoby had a career night at Madison Square Garden with 36 points and without it, the Raptors likely have no chance in this game.

A historical night for the Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks on 75th anniversary

Some might forget that the Raptors hosted the first-ever NBA game at Maple Leaf Gardens back in 1946. Back then, they were called the Toronto Huskies and the Knicks were actually the Knickerbockers.

New York took the win in that game while Toronto’s Ed Sadowski led all players with 18 points as fans were able to get into the building for free if they were over 6-foot-8 or they could get in for 75 cents, $1.25, $2.00 and $2.50. That’s something you won’t see anymore especially when you consider how the game has evolved from those days.

Canada will always have the ability to say that the game was invented by Dr. James Naismith and we have seen more Canadians featured in lineups. No moment was bigger than when the Raptors were able to bring the Larry O’Brien trophy to Canada in 2019.

For the longest time, Steve Nash was the beacon that everyone looked to and now the next wave including RJ Barrett, who was playing against the Raptors Monday night, will look to keep it going for Canada.

Unfortunately for Barrett, he was on the losing end of a great performance from the Raptors who are trying to remind Canada that maybe they shouldn’t be written off on being a playoff team.

Next. Argos clinch playoff spot in weird finish at BMO Field. dark

What are your thoughts on the Raptors’ win over the Knicks? Can they continue this type of play? Let us know in the comments below.