The Toronto Raptors' five-game winning streak came to a crashing halt earlier this week, but they will try to rebound when they welcome their Atlantic Division rival, the New York Knicks, to Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors fell at home to the Memphis Grizzlies, 88-82, on Wednesday. It marked the first game Rudy Gay played against his former squad since he was traded on Jan. 31.
"It was emotional, a little bit, it was good to see the guys," said Gay, "but at the end of the day it was one of those things where we still thought we could win."
Gay was held to just 13 points and three assists by the Grizzlies.
"They didn't want to let Rudy get going,' said head coach Dwane Casey. "They were double-teaming him on pick-and-rolls, they were sending help quickly, they made it tough on him. I felt for him cause I knew he wanted to do well, but every time they were rotating bodies against him."
Alan Anderson paced the Raptors with 19 points off the bench. Amir Johnson had 16 and Kyle Lowry added 12 points.
Toronto made a small deadline deal on Thursday with the acquisition of backup point guard Sebastian Telfair from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for seldom- used center Hamed Haddadi and a protected second-round draft pick in 2014.
The Raptors beat the Knicks in Madison Square Garden just nine days ago.
The Knicks have been floundering over the last two weeks. They've dropped three in a row and four of their last five, including two road losses on top of the disappointing home setback to the Raptors.
In their first outing after the All-Star break, the Knicks got creamed in a critical matchup of Eastern Conference powerhouses. New York lost to the Indiana Pacers, 125-91 in a game it trailed by 30 after three quarters.
"This was a good old fashioned (butt) whooping," said center Tyson Chandler. "We are fooling ourselves if we think we're going to get anywhere playing this kind of defense."
The Knicks used to be a hard-working defensive unit, but have slid to eighth in the NBA in opponents' scoring and 20th in opponents' field-goal percentage.
The Pacers posted a season-high in points on Wednesday and shot 53 percent from the field against New York. The Knicks have surrendered 100 points or more in three of their last five and allow 103.8 ppg during that same time period.
Chandler was the only bright spot offensively for the Knicks against the Pacers. He netted 19 points on 11-for-11 free-throw shooting and pulled down 11 rebounds.
Carmelo Anthony only managed 15 points on 7-for-21 shooting.
The Knicks were active on Thursday. They shipped Ronnie Brewer to the Oklahoma City Thunder for OKC's 2014 second-round pick and cash considerations.
New York also hopes to sign free agent Kenyon Martin in the next few days. The team has to wait for Brewer to pass his physical with the Thunder before the Martin deal becomes official.
These two squads will meet twice more after Friday. The Raptors have won two straight against the Knicks, but New York has taken three of its last four in Toronto.