We land at the last game of the regular season knowing much less about the Cleveland Cavaliers than we’d hope to. It feels like the team has played four 20-game seasons and this one is wrapping up all too quickly as the team still struggles to get completely healthy. A win against the Knicks and a 76ers loss to the Bucks would knock the Cavaliers up to the three seed, so there are stakes here. Let’s see what happens.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Enemy Blog: Posting & Toasting
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Online: FoxSports GO, NBA League Pass
Cavs injuries: Rodney Hood (QUESTIONABLE – Achilles 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), Troy Williams (OUT – fractured jaw)
Three keys to the game
- George Hill returned in the Cavaliers last game but Rodney Hood is dealing with issues of his own. What kind of starting lineup will the Cavaliers lean on moving forward? Hill-Hood-James-Green-Love is certainly potent offensively, but the new Cavaliers need to develop rhythm together to allow them to contribute against locked-in playoff defenses.
- Frank Ntilikina is a super fun rookie, but George Hill presents a tough matchup for him. His handle isn’t as clean as you’d like it to be, and his shooting is really limited. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a bright future, and he’s fun to watch when he’s hounding opponent lead guards. In this matchup though, he doesn’t have much to do on that end. Be more concerned with Trey Burke.
- The Knicks are playing out the string as they cope with injuries and, well, losing games on purpose to help their draft odds. What’s funny is that a Knicks win would have real impact on the Nets draft odds, especially if Brooklyn pulls off a win against Boston on Wednesday night. Basically, there’s a lot going on, here.
Courtney Lee will have his hands full with LeBron James. And by that I mean: It’s not going to go well for Courtney Lee against LeBron James.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavs will win this easily. Cleveland 115, Knicks 97.