By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
Pre-Game News and Notes
The New York Knicks will play their regular season finale Wednesday night against the surprising Atlantic Division champion Toronto Raptors. There is a good chance this one, like last night against the Brooklyn Nets, will resemble something closer to a preseason game as the Knicks prepare for the offseason and the Raptors get ready for the playoffs. Here are some things to keep an eye on for the game tonight.
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-How Bench Players React
The Knicks are sure to use plenty of their deeper reserves and young players tonight, as they do not have anything to play for. Carmelo Anthony will not dress with his partially torn labrum, and there is a good chance Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler will also sit this one out. If that happens, there will be a lot of minutes to soak up for other players.
One player who stands to receive a ton of playing time is Cole Aldrich. Aldrich played 26 minutes last night, and will more than likely top that tonight. He performed well last night, and has throughout the season in spot duty, raising the question of should he have been playing all season.
Another player to keep an eye on is Toure’ Murry. The Knicks like the intangibles he brings defensively, but he has not been given constant minutes all season. He should be given the opportunity to shine tonight with Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni’s minutes being held to a minimum.
The last player to keep an eye on is Jeremy Tyler. He should be in line behind Aldrich for minutes tonight. He had been in the rotation for parts of the season, but fell out of favor for some reason, even with Andrea Bargnani and Kenyon Martin missing big chunks of the season. Like Aldrich and Murry, he has a good chance tonight to make a lasting impression on new President Phil Jackson.
Unlike the Knicks, the Raptors do have something to play for tonight. Currently, they are sitting in the third seed, tied with the Chicago Bulls. If they win tonight, they will hold onto the third seed and more than likely face the Washington Wizards. If they lose, they will more than likely play against the Nets.
That means the Raptors will most likely be using their regulars full time tonight. Head coach Dwane Casey has said that his players would be monitored tonight, but they will play if need be. The Raptors are not as talented, or experienced, enough to turn the switch on and off nightly. They need to keep their foot on the gas and stay sharp for the playoffs.
-Woodson’s Last Game
This could very well be Mike Woodson’s last game as head coach of the Knicks. He had a successful tenure as coach before this season, but he seems to have worn out his welcome.
very likely will name a new head coach this offseason to go with a new general
manager, as he will bring his people into the organization. It has been a quick
turn on Woodson, who the fans were behind just a season ago. Jackson