Hello. The Cleveland Cavaliers are back on the road after a four-win home stand. They now stand 7-1 despite missing their two most functional backcourt players. And now they have had two days of rest before heading to New York to take on the Knicks. The Knicks are having themselves an excellent season too, as they're 4-5 and things aren't totally on fire (yet). The Knicks did give the Cavs a competitive matchup in their 96-86 win last week, and since then Kristaps Porzingis has looked amazing. Can the Knicks take the air out of the Cavs' seven-game win streak balloon?
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers at New York Knicks
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: See title (Madison Square Garden)
National TV or Nah:
ESPN NBA TV has this one.
Enemy Blog: Posting and Toasting
Music: Jane's Addiction - Stop
end with nothing but dunks from Kristaps
Last time out, the Cavs were able to beat the Knicks with excellent team defense, holding New York to 39.3 percent shooting from the field and 86 total points. Carmelo Anthony paced the Knicks with 17 points that came on 18 shots, Jerian Grant went 0-5 from the field, and the Knicks couldn't stop Mo Williams during the first three quarters (22/6/4 for Mo Gotti) or LeBron late (nine of his 23 points in the fourth as the Cavs pulled away.
Things to Watch Tonigh
- Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love, and Timofey Mozgov need to be on point tonight on the glass, as the Knicks have been one of the league's best offensive rebounding teams early on. Part of this is helped by generous brick-laying as a team (42.5 percent from the field, 31.5 percent from three on the season), but the Knicks have the league's third-best offensive rebounding rate. The Cavs have owned rebounding advantage so far, and were able to keep the Knicks under their season average in their previous outing, but given that since that game we've gotten a "Kristaps Porzingis putback dunk" mixtape from NBA.com, rebounding seems important again.
- Speaking of young Kristaps "Slender Zingis" Porzingis, the Latvian sensation seems very real early on. He's not shooting well, hitting just 39 percent from the field, but that's mostly due to a poor early shooting percentage as he adjusts to the NBA three-point line. Zingis is posting 12 points and nine rebounds per game for the Knicks, and while it's early, they're nine points better per 100 possessions with him on the floor. He compliments Robin Lopez well because he can stretch the floor a bit and he's mobile enough to hang around against small-ball lineups defensively. He's massive, has a penchant for dunking on everyone, and once he figures his shot out, looks like he could be a very useful player.
- Gangstaaaaaaaaaaa (The return, return, return) Oooooooooooo (It's the return)
- This is another game where I expect Kevin Love to dominate. He had 11/12 in the first matchup, which is fine, but he struggled to score consistently, which was a surprise because the Knicks don't have a strong defender to matchup with him. Ideally, no one on the Knicks should be able to guard Love - Zingis isn't disciplined enough to stick, Rolo shouldn't be that far away from the rim, and if D-Will isn't engaged on both ends that kind of means the Knicks have to stick Melo on him which ahahahahaha have fun with that. Love's been an inferno outside of that first Knicks game, really, and I expect him to be a focal part of the offense tonight.
- This would be a great time for Timo to wake up, mainly because this game should be to his liking. A team that plays at a relatively slow pace, with a defense full of slightly inattentive dudes, and an offense that lacks ball movement, should be right up his alley! The first game against the Knicks was one of Mozgov's better games of the season, and hopefully this is a good opportunity for him to sort through some things. And by "sort through some things," I of course mean Timo grabbing an overzealous Kristaps trying to put down a jam off a miss, and throwing him to Neptune.
- With the drop of another Uncle Drew vid, and the game being in MSG, I'm not ruling out starting lineup intros getting derailed by Kyrie ripping off his suit to Stone Cold's music and dropping 30 on Jerian Grant.