On Sunday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers drubbed the Philadelphia 76ers in their rock and roll inspired attire to the tune of 118-94. Once again, the SexLand tandem (officially adopted by Larry Nance Jr.) dazzled and combined for 36 points and 10 assists. Joining them in a strong effort was Andre Drummond - who finished the night with 24 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Unfortunately, Cleveland also lost Kevin Love to his nagging calf injury and Isaac Okoro was also sidelined due to a foot sprain.
Tonight the Cavs will look to defend homecourt against the pesky New York Knicks. The Knicks, who knocked off the Milwaukee Bucks 130-110, are missing a few key players in their rotation like rookies Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin.
How to watch:
Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Go, and NBA League Pass.
While they aren’t as potent offensively like the Sixers, the Knicks can still cause some problems for Cleveland due to their strong front court in Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson. So expect for head coach J.B. Bickerstaff to employ a similar approach where Cleveland attacks the paint with Drummond on offense and try to get Robinson and Randle into foul trouble early into the game. This, in turn, will allow players like Darius Garland and Collin Sexton to have a stronger impact against an already weakened New York back court rotation.
With Love expected to be out, it means Larry Nance Jr. will likely draw the start for Cleveland. But, due to New York’s size, Nance will likely draw the start at the four forcing Bickerstaff to get creative with his starting small forward. Due to Cedi Osman having found his role in Bickerstaff’s system, look for either Dante Exum or Damyean Dotson to draw the start for the Cavs.
Cavs: Darius Garland/Collin Sexton/Dante Exum/Larry Nance Jr./Andre Drummond
Knicks: Elfrid Payton/R.J. Barrett/Reggie Bullock/Julius Randle/Mitchell Robinson
This section will be updated as we get closer to tip-off and find out more about who is and is not available for Cleveland.
Things to watch for:
- Going hard in the mother truckin’ paint: As mentioned before, what made Cleveland so effective against Philadelphia was the Cavs attacking the overmatched Dwight Howard early and getting him into foul trouble. This forced the Sixers to play Mike Scott, usually a four, and Tony Bradley, usually the third string center, more and the rest was history from there for Doc Rivers and his squad. The Cavs had 68 paint points against the Sixers and with the Knicks ranking dead last in opponent points in the pant per game, expect similar results.
- Unselfish, fundamentally sound basketball: Surprising nearly everyone, the Cavs rank as one of the top playmaking teams in the league averaging a shade above 30 assists per game this season. While it likely won’t last for the entire season, forcing to play Nance more minutes is going to keep the ball moving around the court, along with Garland continuing to look strong as a facilitator.
- White like a Cleveland winter night: The Cavs won’t be wearing their rock and roll inspired City Edition threads for tonight’s tilt against the Knicks. Instead, they’ll be rocking their best traditional look with their white Association look. It’s fitting with how white hot Cleveland will look on both ends of the floor.