The Cavs will look to keep their good playing going as they take on the New York Knicks tonight. The Knicks are in the midst of a three-game losing streak thanks to a weeklong trip through the Western Conference.
How to watch:
Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Go, and NBA League Pass.
The Cavs will be without Kevin Love (calf) and Matthew Dellavedova (concussion) tonight. Larry Nance Jr. (wrist) is questionable, but I do not expect him play considering how the Cavs have taken the cautious approach on injuries this season.
Cedi Osman has had a couple good games in a row, but I expect Taurean Prince to replace him in the starting lineup tonight. Prince is a much better matchup against Julius Randle so I would expect him to get the start tonight.
Cavs: Darius Garland / Collin Sexton / Isaac Okoro / Taurean Prince / Andre Drummond
Knicks: Elfrid Payton / RJ Barret / Alec Burks / Julius Randle / Mitchell Robinson
Things to watch for:
- Three-point shooting: The Cavs are 29th in the league in three-point attempts with just 27.8 attempts per game. Not surprisingly, that has led to them being the 28th ranked offense in the league. This was excusable when Sexton, Garland, and Dylan Windler were out of the lineup, but that excuse isn’t there anymore. The Cavs only attempted 21 threes in their win on Wednesday over the Pistons despite shooting 52.4% from distance. The offense needs to figure out a way to generate consistent looks from the outside if they want to become a viable modern offense.
- Garland and Windler need to be shooting from the outside: Shooters gotta shoot. And right now, the teams best two healthy shooters aren’t shooting enough. Garland has attempted a total of two threes the last two games. He is also attempting less threes per game this season (4.4) than he did last season (5) despite shooting 40.9% from deep. Windler has surprised me with how well-rounded his game is. However, he is only averaging just 2.8 threes per game in 18.2 minutes of play. The offense desperately needs both of them to pull from distance with more frequency.
- Containing Julius Randle: Randle is keeping the Knicks’ offense afloat with his playmaking and scoring ability. The former Kentucky Wildcat is averaging 22.5 points, 11.3 boards, and 6.0 assists per game. The Knicks entire offense runs through him. The Cavs will likely be missing Larry Nance Jr. tonight. The job of containing Randle will likely fall to Prince and at times Jarrett Allen, JaVale McGee, and Andre Drummond. How the Cavs defend Randle will go a long way in determining if they can pull out a win tonight.
- Collin Sexton’s ability to get to the line: The three most efficient ways to score in the NBA is by getting to the rim, making threes, and getting to the line. Sexton has added the third element to his game this season. The third-year guard is averaging 5.7 free-throws per game this season which is a significant improvement from the 4.1 attempts he had in the previous. Sexton is averaging 7.8 free throws per game since returning from an ankle injury last week. Wednesday’s game was a great example of this. Sexton was able to probe the paint, initiate contact, and get to the line with frequency against Detroit as he finished with 10 free-throw attempts that game. The ability to get to the line was the missing piece for Sexton’s offensive game, but that appears to be changing. We’ll see if he can get to the line with some regularity again tonight.