Where: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
When: 7:00 p.m.
TV: Bally Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass, Bally Sports App
Spread: Cavs -6
Opposing blog: Posting and Toasting
Expected Cavs starting lineup: Darius Garland / Isaac Okoro / Dean Wade / Evan Mobley / Jarrett Allen
Cavs injury report: Jarrett Allen (QUESTIONABLE - illness), Rajon Rondo (QUESTIONABLE - right hamstring soreness), Lauri Markkanen (OUT - right ankle sprain), Ricky Rubio (OUT - ACL), Collin Sexton (OUT - meniscus), RJ Nembhard Jr. (OUT - G League)
Expected Knicks starting lineup: Alec Burks / Evan Fournier / RJ Barrett / Julius Randle / Mitchell Robinson
Knicks injury report: Ryan Arcidiacono (OUT - left ankle sprain), Derrick Rose (OUT - right ankle surgery), Kemba Walker (OUT - left knee soreness), Luka Samanic (OUT - G League)
Three things to watch
Containing RJ Barrett. Barrett is a streaky player. He doesn’t get to the line (4.2 FTA) as much as you’d like someone with his skill level to do and isn’t a good free-throw shooter (69.8%) when he does get there. That means his effectiveness as a scorer rises and falls based on his outside and mid-range shot.
Things have been going well for Barrett in January. He is averaging 22.9 points per game this month with an effective field goal percentage of 51.
Barrett led the Knicks to a win over the Los Angles Clippers last night with a 28 point and 10 rebound performance. He also played 43 minutes and the entire second half. We’ll see if he can replicate that performance again tonight on what should be tired legs.
Evan Mobley vs. Julius Randle. Mobley has quietly been putting together his best scoring month this season. The rookie is averaging 16.5 points on 55.3% shooting from the field in January.
Mobley will have the height advantage over Randle, but Randle has a much bigger frame and is known for playing a physical brand of basketball. It’ll be interesting to see how Mobley handles that matchup on both ends of the floor.
Can the Cavs control the glass? The Knicks have been one of the best offensive rebounding teams this season. They are 6th in offensive rebound averaging 11 offensive boards per game and are retrieving for 28.8% of their missed shots. As a result, the Knicks average 14.4-second-chance points per game which is the 5th most in the league.
Conversely, the Cavs have been giving up 11.6 offensive rebounds per game since the New Year which is 5th worst in the league during that span. This has led to giving up 13.2 second-chance points per game during the last month.
The numbers suggest the Knicks have a clear advantage with offensive rebounding and second-chance points. We’ll see how much they’ll be able to press that advantage tonight.