Though they have technically been a foe ever since joining the Atlantic Division back in 2004-05, the Toronto Raptors have seemingly become a hot-blooded rival of the New York Knicks in 2022-23 what with their several close-call bouts thus far, and, recently, the heated banter seen being exchanged between members of both parties.
During their most recent outing held at Madison Square Garden on January 16, leading the charge in the smack-talk department was Toronto’s reigning Rookie of the Year forward Scottie Barnes, who, during the contest, was seen in Quentin Grimes’ face, looking as though he was saying “you is not him” while wagging his finger.
Though the Raptors ultimately were able to hang on for the win in an overtime showdown, the jabs between Barnes and some of the members of the Knicks didn’t seem to stop when the final buzzer sounded as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reports that the 21-year-old would go on to state that he believes being guarded by RJ Barrett was a bit of a mismatch.
“I felt like with me being taller, with my size, I was going to be able to get a good look around the rim every single time,” Barnes said.
Despite Barrett’s impressive efforts and 32-point performance, the Raptors forward was the one who finished with the more efficient and well-rounded game as he ended the matchup with 26 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks on 50% shooting from both the field and from distance.
Nevertheless, while Barnes may be the one chirping and saying he had an easy time going up against the slightly shorter Knicks wing, it was Barrett who ended up putting him on a poster in the final seconds of regulation that wound up bringing the game to overtime.
Knicks Guard Calls Out Barnes
The Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee was truly an exhilarating contest from start to finish, but, sadly, there were several instances throughout that were marred with controversy.
One situation, in specific, came at around the 3:30 mark in overtime when point guard Jalen Brunson was called for a shooting foul on Fred VanVleet.
Though the call was challenged by head coach Tom Thibodeau, the effort ultimately proved to be unsuccessful and, after the game, Brunson addressed the foul call, stating that he had been pushed into VanVleet by Scottie Barnes.
“I think it was Scottie that bumped me into him,” Brunson told the New York Post. “They felt otherwise, and that was that.”
The call was also brought into question by Thibodeau himself during a post-game media session, where he would state that all he wants is consistency when it comes to the officiating and, against Toronto, the Knicks coach seems to feel this was ultimately not the case.
Knicks, Raptors Could Be Trade Partners
Despite their on-court battles, it appears the New York Knicks may have an interest in doing business with the Raptors before February 9th’s trade deadline.
At this point, it is well-known that Leon Rose and company reached out to Toronto back in December to inquire about the availability of sixth-year wing OG Anunoby and now, according to Brett Siegel of FanNation’s Fastbreak, it is being reported that they have expressed interest in pursuing fellow teammate Gary Trent Jr. as well.
“Both the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns are two teams that have a level of internal interest in Trent ahead of the deadline, sources close to both organizations tell Fastbreak on FanNation,” Siegel wrote on January 10. “However, the asking price Toronto for Trent has not been revealed, and rival executives believe that the Raptors will be aiming to add immediate draft capital given their recent struggles this season.
“New York is a team that is very much looking to upgrade their roster ahead of the deadline, and any combination of Evan Fournier, Derrick Rose, Cam Reddish and Immanuel Quickley could be included in a potential deal for the Knicks to add a player of Gary Trent’s caliber. There is a push within the Knicks’ front office, though, to keep both Rose and Quickley if possible, sources said,” Siegel wrote.
As we inch closer to the deadline, it appears that many questions are arising about whether the Raptors will look to partake in some form of mid-season dealings and, should they be sellers, the Knicks may be calling up in regard to several players found on their roster.