Game #17 Preview: Knicks at Cavaliers

I feel like the Cavaliers never stay in the same city for more than one night. Once again, the Cavs hurry home after a brief road trip to host the New York Knicks. The Knicks have an 8-game losing streak at Quicken Loans arena, so let's try to make it 9 in a row.

Song Of The Day: Pretty Fly - The Offspring


Tonight's Overview:

New York Knicks (7-10) at Cleveland Cavaliers (6-10)

I swear the Knicks are a professional comedy group. With all of the fanfare surrounding the Carmelo Anthony acquisition, and Amare Stoudemire proclaiming that "New York is back" on like four separate occasions, and then drastically overpaying for Tyson Chandler in the offseason, you'd think that the Knicks were just steamrolling through the Eastern Conference. I mean, that's at least what Knicks fans thought would happen. Instead, the Knicks are just 7-10 and haven't really beaten many good teams. Melo is hosting his own personal brickfest every night and Amare may or may not have retired during the lockout and just didn't tell anybody. Knicks fans want to fire Mike D'Antoni and they have Josh Harrelson and Mike Bibby playing meaningful minutes. While Community is off the air, I think New York Knicks basketball may be the best comedy on TV.

The Cavs got destroyed by the Bulls and the Hawks, but then rebounded (kinda) by playing the Miami Heat tough on the road. They gave Miami pretty much everything they could handle, yet are still on a 4-game losing streak. Tonight against the Knicks gives them a pretty good shot at snapping that streak. If Alonzo Gee can play half the defense that he played on LeBron on Melo, then the Cavs should be able to hold Anthony in check. The starting guards for the Knicks are Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert? The Knicks defense is improved, but still not great, so I'd expect Kyrie Irving to have another nice day.

I'll be interested to see how Byron Scott splits up the minutes tonight. Samardo Samuels played well last night and Semih Erden didn't play at all. Will Scott go back to Erden or ride the hot hand with Samuels? Find out tonight!

After playing just 26 minutes against Miami (presumably because of the back-to-back), I hope we get to see Kyrie Irving play 30+ minutes against New York. Tristan Thompson missed last night's game with an ankle injury and is questionable once again tonight.

The next four games (including tonight) are very winnable. The schedule goes: Knicks, Nets, Celtics, Celtics. It's possible, although not likely, that the Cavs rattle off 4 straight wins and get back to .500. All of that has to start tonight.

After the Cavs amnestied Baron Davis, he signed with the Knicks. As you may know, he had a back injury that has kept him on the sidelines for first month of the season. He's recovering well and has practiced with the team a couple times. There is a chance that he makes his Knicks debut tonight in Cleveland. I'd expect the crowd at the Q to give him a nice ovation if he does manage to play tonight. He was a class act while with the Cavs and seemed to really like the team and city.

Key Matchup:

Kyrie Irving vs. Iman Shumpert

If you listen to any of the hype that Knicks fans spew, you'd think Iman Shumpert was the evolutionary Scottie Pippen. I'll admit that he's a good defender, but he's still a rookie and is very inconsistent (quite generous wording on my part) on the offensive end. He's got good size and length at the point guard position, although he is not a point guard at all. He'll likely have the task of trying to check Kyrie tonight. It seems unlikely that he will be very effective because Kyrie is basically a machine these days. As usual, I'll be paying close attention to how Kyrie plays and specifically how he deals with the length of Shumpert tonight.

Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction:

The streak ends tonight. The Cavs will snap their 4-game losing streak and extend the Knicks 8-game losing streak in Cleveland. Gee plays some exemplary defense against Melo and Kyrie torches the Knicks "guards". Cavs win by a score of 98-87.

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