Skip to main content

When the New York Knicks last won nine straight games, Julius Randle was announcing he was going to play for John Calipari at Kentucky.

Now, Randle is part of the NBA’s longest active winning streak.

The Knicks seek their first nine-game winning streak in a little over eight years Saturday afternoon when they host the Toronto Raptors.

New York (33-27) is on its first eight-game winning streak since March 5-21, 2014 under coach Mike Woodson in the final weeks of a 37-win season. The Knicks last won nine straight from March 18-April 9, 2013 when they reeled off 13 successive victories with Carmelo Anthony and several other veterans on the way to a 54-win season and their last playoff appearance.

At that time, Randle was playing high school basketball in the Dallas area and just announced he was headed to Kentucky. He spent one season with the Wildcats before being a lottery pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2014.

The Knicks are unbeaten since a 101-99 loss at Boston on April 7. Two nights later they started the run by overcoming a 13-point deficit in the final five minutes of regulation for a 133-129 overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Knicks have won three OT games in the run while averaging 118.4 points and hitting 40.5 per cent of their three-point tries.

New York’s latest victory came Wednesday 137-127 in overtime against the Atlanta Hawks when they overcame an 11-point disadvantage in the third quarter. New York is now in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Knicks have won four consecutive games since Alec Burks was placed in the health and safety protocols last week.

Toronto (25-34) is facing the Knicks for the second time this month. In the Raptors’ previous visit to New York, they nearly overcame an 18-point disadvantage before they fell 102-96 on April 11.

Since that meeting in New York, the Raptors are 4-1 in their past five games and on their second four-game winning streak of the season. They are 7-4 in their past 11 games after losing 13 of 14 games from March 3-31.

However, Toronto will have to do without forward Chris Boucher for a while. He’ll miss at least the next three games with a sprained MCL in his left knee.

Boucher suffered the injury when he landed awkwardly in Wednesday’s victory over Brooklyn.

The team said he’ll sit out until the Raptors depart for their upcoming west coast road trip, April 29 to May 4, and his condition will be updated as appropriate.

Boucher is averaging career highs of 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocks (fifth in the NBA) and 24.0 minutes in 59 games this season.

He is shooting 51.9 per cent from the field, including 38.9 per cent from three-point range.

The Raptors are (25-34) are 12th in a tight Eastern Conference, just half a game back of Washington for 10th place and a spot in the play-in tournament.

Like the Knicks, the Raptors enter with two days off after dominating the third quarter for a 114-103 victory over the visiting Brooklyn Nets.

“The chemistry built throughout the game,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. “I thought our guys did a really good job of adjusting. Obviously, we were creating a lot of good shots. I think it was a good step forward.”