The Cleveland Cavaliers look to extend their winning streak to four games as they play host to the New York Knicks. While a game like this could be seen as a formality, the poor start to their game against the Philadelphia 76ers as well as the ghosts from opening night last season should still be fresh.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks
When? 8:00 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland Ohio
Where on my eyeballs? ESPN, Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Enemy Blog: Posting and Toasting
It ain't hard to tell what the keys to the game will be. Carmelo Anthony remains the catalyst for the Knickerbockers and when he isn't scoring, it's going to be tough for them to generate enough offense to hang around with the upper-echelon teams in the NBA. The Cavs let an inferior team get out to an early lead in their last matchup by surrendering too many easy baskets in the interior. Robin Lopez could prove to be a tough cover for a hobbled Timofey Mozgov, especially if the Knicks pull him away from the basket by forcing him to defend the pick and roll.
Limiting the amount of easy looks on the inside combined with keeping Melo somewhat contained should be enough to ensure that this contest does not remain closely contested for too long. With Mozgov hurting, plus J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Kyrie Irving all riding pine due to injury, it's certainly in the Cavs best interest to make sure they keep their foot on the pedal early so the key players don't need to play more than they should have to.
This game does present the Cavs with their first opportunity to check out fourth overall pick Kristaps Porzingis. It's a name I'm going to need to learn how to spell without looking it up as he looks like someone that will be around for a long time. Porzingis is making an impression early in his career with his aggressive and decisive play, combined with the tremendous amount of skill and touch he has for someone his size. He may be suffering some ill-effects as Anthony fell on his head in their last game, but hopefully he'll get to show off the Cleveland crowd some of what has people excited about his game.
While it may seem like I'm being dismissive of the Knicks roster, I should probably make it clear that I do not think they are devoid of talent. I actually think they did a good job adding depth and pieces that make a decent amount of sense together this past summer. But this is still a roster that is figuring out how to play with one another, that is relying on youth to come in and make significant contributions and will be playing on the road against a tough Cavs team. They have the potential of making this a game if the Cavs let them, but if Cleveland comes out with the right mindset it shouldn't be too much of an issue on Wednesday night.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
I think Porzingis and crew will have difficulty defending the Cavs frontcourt. Kevin Love comes out with a 20 & 10 game and LeBron James contributes in a big way in a showdown with his close friend Carmelo. Cavs win 105-92.