If it wasn’t obvious after the Oklahoma City Thunder blew out the New York Knicks on Friday night, they desperately missed Julius Randle and his impact. On Sunday afternoon, the Knicks dropped their second consecutive game against the Toronto Raptors, losing by 15 points and barely walking away with many positives.
The Knicks had embarked on a lengthy streak against teams that are below .500 on the season but have struggled considerably to walk away with wins. They have won three of their last five games, but they look like an entirely different team, demoralized and void of offensive production without Randle.
Against Toronto, Tom Thibodeau started rookie Miles McBride and third-string center Taj Gibson, to supplement injuries. McBride finished with just two points over 15 minutes, as he was quickly substituted for Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley, who combined for 20 points over 55 minutes.
The Knicks shot just 34.3% from deep in the game, while the Raptors shot 38.2%. Toronto’s starting five were electric, as Fred VanVleet posted 35 points on 7 of 13 shooting from three-point range and 11 of 17 from the field. All five starters contributed a positive +/-.
The Knicks have given a bigger opportunity to Obi Toppin with Randle on the NBA’s health and safety protocols list. Toppin contributed 19 points, two blocks, six assists, and six rebounds in the loss. He shot 7 of 12 from the field over 45 minutes.
Despite Toppin’s adequate offensive performance, the team had little to no energy and played porous defense. Allowing 120 points to a Raptors team that has struggled as of late is simply unacceptable.
The Knicks turned the ball over 17 times and committed 26 fouls. Even more mesmerizing, they picked up just 30 rebounds compared to 44 from Toronto. Despite having a small lineup, the Knicks were outmuscled and outpaced throughout the game.
Thibodeau will now look ahead to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, but they will still be without several key players.