New addition Marc Gasol played his first game in a Raptors uniform in Madison Square Garden against the Knicks on Saturday. The Raptors took the game by a surprisingly narrow margin, 104-99.
Here are my takeaways from that game:
1. Gasol Played Well, Regardless of His Stats
Marc Gasol 7 points, 6 boards and 1 assist agains the Knicks, rather unimpressive stats for a player of his calibre. However, look past the stats, and you have three more assists save for missed shots.
Although it may be true that JV would have put up better numbers if he had played, give Gasol some time to grow and he'll be back to performing at the high level at which he is certainly capable of playing.
2. The Knicks Aren't Good, The Raptors Just Played Poorly
This close game between the Knicks and Raptors may give some fans an illusion of an improved Knicks team. Don't be fooled. The Raptors' entire lineup played below their level, other than, perhaps, Norman Powell (14 points and 3 assists in 16 minutes).
The Knicks haven't magically gotten better after losing 24 of their last 25 at home. The Raptors just had an awful night, and, thanks to the utter incompetence of the Knicks (outside of rookie Kevin Knox), still managed to walk away with a win.
3. The Kid is Carrying the Load in New York
The plan for the Knicks when they drafted Kevin Knox this past summer was to pair him with franchise cornerstone Kristaps Porzingis once he returned from injury.
Well, Porzingis requested a trade prior to the deadline, and was swiftly dealt to the Dallas Mavericks for Dennis Smith, Jr., DeAndre Jordan, and Wes Matthews, as part of a package that included Tim Hardaway, Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke.
Now, the rookie, who has already been playing extremely well, is playing even better. In February, Knox has put up scoring numbers of 21, 17, and, against the Raptors, 20.
Whether or not a superstar or two join the Knicks in free agency this summer, the Knicks have found themselves a star.
The Raptors play the Brooklyn Nets at home on Monday, and the Knicks hope to improve their record against an equally struggling Clevelan Cavaliers team in Cleveland that same night.