Although it was Rudy Gay’s first game against the Knicks as a Raptor, it was DeMar DeRozan who led Toronto to an upset win at Madison Square Garden last week. By consistently attacking the rim, DeRozan was able to rack up easy points at the free throw line. He went 10-for-10 from the stripe on his way to 20 points overall.
Gay has opened up driving lanes and absorbed other teams’ best wing defender, which has made life easier for DeRozan. Since the Gay acquisition, DeRozan has averaged 6.7 free throw attempts per game, compared to 5.0 for the season. Although it’s only been seven games, the early signs look good for Toronto, as they make a push for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Iman Shumpert will have to keep DeRozan out of the lane, and away from the free throw line. DeRozan is shooting just 38.5% from outside the paint this season, but is connecting on 83.8% of his free throw attempts. As a team, the Knicks will need to go under any screens for DeRozan, and concede the open jumper. If the Knicks can force Gay into another subpar shooting night, and keep DeMar DeRozan out of the paint, they should avenge their pre-All-Star game loss.
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