As the Knicks wind down a disappointing season, the young duo of Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin will look to put on one more show against the Raptors.
It’s the end of the road. Tonight, the New York Knicks (36-45) play the final game of the 2021–22 season. They are facing off against the Toronto Raptors (48-33) in front of the home faithful one last time in Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks come into their final home game following a nice bounce-back victory against the Washington Wizards in their last road game of the season. The ‘Bockers fell down early to a hamstrung Wizards squad without Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis but collected themselves and dominated from the second quarter on the backs of their sophomores, 2020 first-round picks Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin.
Though the Knicks won’t play another basketball game until October after tonight, there are still things to watch in their final contest of the campaign—mainly, the continued play of the aforementioned duo.
Toppin, who scored a career-high 35 points versus the Wizards, has given the Knicks something to think about as he’s taken full advantage of his starting opportunity with Julius Randle sitting the last four games. In those games, Toppin is averaging 23.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game, while also shooting an impressive 48.1% from behind the three-point line. It’s an impressive stretch for the former lottery pick looking to cement himself after receiving inconsistent time on the court earlier this season.
Toppin has a tough final task ahead of him: he is likely to match up with Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, one of the premier big men in the NBA. Siakam is averaging 22.8 points along with 8.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
Immanuel Quickley has had his very own impressive late run and looks to finish out the season strong against the playoff-bound Raptors. Quickley has gotten over his early struggles and has become more of a floor general in the second half of the season, averaging 4.5 assists since the All-Star break, compared to only 3.0 pre-break. He’s been able to record 10 assists in two of his last three games, including his first career triple-double versus the Orlando Magic. Quickley has one more shot to solidify his position at a possible starting point-guard job heading into next season.
Total team effort to earn the W.
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) April 4, 2022
Though the season is coming to an end more prematurely than they expected, the Knicks can be certain they have a solid combo in Toppin and Quickley. This game may mean nothing, but it’ll be a good look at how they stack up against a perennial playoff team they are sure to battle many times in the future.
Though the Raptors are locked in as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture and this game has no effect on their standing, it appears the team will be coming in at near full strength. Franchise point guard and first-time All-Star Fred VanVleet is not on the injury report after missing Toronto’s last two games with a knee injury. Raptor’s forward OG Anunoby has missed the last four contests with a quad injury and is listed as questionable.
The Knicks have had an injury-plagued season, but they may have dodged a long-term bullet with the news that the knee injury RJ Barrett suffered and had to sit out most of the second half against Washington due to is not overly serious. However, Barrett will miss the final game of the season. He finishes the campaign averaging 20.0 points per game to go with 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
New York has been a better team in the second half of the season; since coming back from the All-Break, the Knicks are 11-11. Closing out the final stretch of the year above .500 could give them a sense of momentum heading into an important offseason.