The Cavs are in New York — where LeBron James always seems to play well — against a tanking Knicks team. This can’t go wrong, right?
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers at New York Knicks
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Madison Square Garden – New York, New York
Enemy Blog: Posting & Toasting
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, NBA TV
Online: FoxSports GO
Cavs injuries: Rodney Hood (PROBABLE – Achilles soreness), George Hill (QUESTIONABLE – ankle sprain), Jose Calderon (QUESTIONABLE – hamstring soreness)
Knicks injuries: Ron Baker (OUT – right shoulder surgery), Michael Beasley (QUESTIONABLE – contused left ankle), Tim Hardaway Jr. (DOUBTFUL – sprained left ankle) Enes Kanter (DOUBTFUL – sore lower back and right wrist), Emmanuel Mudiay (OUT – concussion), Joakim Noah (not with team – personal reasons) Kristaps Porzingis (OUT – torn), Lance Thomas, (QUESTIONABLE – illness Troy Williams (OUT – fractured jaw)
Three keys to the game
- If George Hill does play, it will be a big deal for the Cavs with just two regular season games left. Not having him in the starting lineup has not just hurt the Cavs’ overall flow, but taken away minutes for the team to find on-court chemistry with everyone healthy. Two games is not enough to do that, but it is better than one or zero.
- The Cavs are not out of content for the No. 3 seed just yet even after Friday’s loss to the 76ers. In order to move up from the No. 4 seed, Cleveland needs to win tonight and then again on Wednesday when it hosts New York. The Cavs also need the 76ers to lose either tomorrow against the Hawks or Wednesday against the Bucks. Tonight and Wednesday, against a banged-up Knicks team that has incentive to lose, the Cavs need to take care of business.
- This could be a game for Rodney Hood — assuming he plays — to settle into a rhythm. The Knicks don’t have a guard to really match his size on the wing with Tim Hardaway Jr. likely out and, if the Cavs run some sets for him, a strong performance would help him settle in before the playoffs start. Staying healthy would be good for Hood too.
Enes Kanter’s injury means there will be no fun drama between him and James. With that in mind, it’ll be worth watching Kevin Love vs. Kyle O’Quinn inside. O’Quinn is a solid player who, while not dominating physically, will make Love work. If Love can stretch him out to three-point line, dominate him on the glass and take advantage of his post-up attempts, it’ll give the Cavs an advantage the Knicks probably can’t overcome.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavs will win this easily. Cleveland 115, Knicks 97.