Porzingis' status still uncertain as Knicks prepare for Raptors (Jan 15, 2017)
TORONTO -- The New York Knicks are coming off a win against the Chicago Bulls that they desperately needed, and the Toronto Raptors are fresh off a fully-expected win over the Brooklyn Nets when they turned it on when needed.
That sums up the difference in the teams that meet Sunday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre for the second time this season.
The Raptors won 118-107 in the first meeting on Nov. 12, using a strong fourth quarter.
The Knicks (18-22) enter the game Sunday with questions surrounding Kristaps Porzingis and his sore left Achilles' tendon.
The forward did not play Thursday when the Knicks defeated the Bulls 104-89 to end a three-game losing streak with only their second win in the past 11 games.
It was the fourth game that Porzingis has missed because of the injury.
"I need to get it 100 percent before I step on the court again," Porzingis told the media on Saturday. "We have a tough schedule ahead of us and I would like to be back as soon as possible, but I have to make sure I'm healthy and can give 100 percent to the team."
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said, "It's not great. But what can we do? This is the NBA, and games come at you fast. If you're winning, it's great. You just show up and play a game the next day. If you're losing, there's no time to try to fix things."
As for Porzingis, Hornacek said, "The trainers will continue to look at it. Somehow, if it turns out to be off and on, that's not great for us, but if he comes out there and says I'd like to play tonight, we're not going to say no necessarily. We've got to trust the player because we can't have that feeling of what it's like in his Achilles'. He's got to be honest with his assessment."
The Raptors (26-13) trailed the woeful Nets by one point late in the third quarter Friday before going on a 28-7 surge and drawing away to a 132-113 victory.
"That's human nature, a phenomenon I've never figured out," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "I commend our guys for finding a way, that's what our league is all about, but you can't play with fire like that and let a team hang around, hang around, hang around."
The Raptors were without Patrick Patterson, who has been dealing with a strained left knee and returned to play in a loss to the Houston Rockets and a win over the Boston Celtics.
Casey said it was "precautionary as much as anything else" and decided to "err on the side of caution."
"He wasn't 100 percent, as I said, the other night, just his explosiveness, his reaction time and that type of thing," Casey said.
Lucas Nogueira made his third start at power forward against the Nets.
"Lucas is doing a good job out on the perimeter, playing the four position," Casey said. "He's not (Patterson) shooting-wise, (but) is a smart player, uses his length well, protects the rim well."
Nogueira had 10 rebounds against the Knicks in the first meeting between the teams.
In that game, DeMar DeRozan scored 33 points for Toronto and Carmelo Anthony had 31 for New York.
DeMarre Carroll, who has struggled at times after undergoing knee surgery a year ago, has been playing better. He had 18 points and 11 rebounds.
"You've got to have patience," Carroll said. "Especially through injury, through adversity, you've got to have patience. I feel like if I haven't learned that now, I will never learn it, but I feel like I have learned it now.
"It's one of those things where I just have to continue to keep doing my maintenance, keep doing my work. I knew I would get back to this level. Now I just want to make it more consistent."
The Knicks are 6-14 on the road and the Raptors are 14-6 at home.