TOR – Jerryd Bayless (G), DeMar DeRozan (G), James Johnson (F), Andrea Bargnani (F), Aaron Gray (C).
NYK – Jeremy Lin (G), Landry Fields (G), Carmelo Anthony (F), Amar’e Stoudemire (F), Tyson Chandler (C)
TOR – Jose Calderon (right ankle sprain) – day-to-day
NYK – Baron Davis (strained right hamstrong) – questionable, Bill Walker (sore left elbow) – out
Calderon Back?: As you can see from the video above, barring a setback after a full practice on Monday, Jose Calderon is on track to return to the linep tonight against the Knicks. Head coach Dwane Casey said he’s anticipating Calderon to be back in the starting five. It’s some much-needed backcourt depth for the Raptors and likely also moves the red-hot Jerryd Bayless (20 or more points in three of the last four games) back to a reserve role. Keep an eye on how the rest of the lineup, Andrea Bargnani in particular, responds to the change.
Close The Bakery: Does the re-insertion of Calderon — the league-leader assist-to-turnover ratio — into the starting five also help reduce turnovers, a major issue of late for Toronto with 46 in their last two games alone?
Stay Physical, Cut The Fouls: The Raptors physical approach has forced opponents to pay a price inside, but it’s also put them on the line a lot of late. According to the Raptors media relations staff, the Raptors have been outscored 133-98 at the line in their last five games an average of an extra seven points per game for an opponent. Consider that four of the Raptors’ last five games have been decided by eight points or less and it’s something to watch against a Knicks team that averages 25.6 free throw attempts per game (sixth in the NBA).
Knicks Picking It Up: It’s been an absolute roller coaster ride of a month for the Knicks, but they appear to be back on track heading into tonight. The last meeting between these two teams saw “Linsanity” hit its peak following Jeremy Lin’s dagger of a 3-pointer at ACC to give the Knicks a 90-87 win on Valentine’s Day. The Knicks hit their roughest patch of the season after that, going 4-9 including a six-game losing streak that saw Mike D’Antoni resign as the team’s head coach. Mike Woodson has since taken on interim head coaching duties and the team has responded with three impressive wins by an average of 23.7 points.