GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Knicks

Tristan Thompson
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold are back on the road for the next three games, starting tonight at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks at 8:00 p.m. ET.

In the first meeting between the Cavs and Knicks this season, Cleveland (16-29) shot a season-high .568 (42-74) from the field and defeated New York, 109-94. That was their highest shooting percentage in a game since December 28, 2011 when they hit .571 (40-70) of their shots at Detroit.

New York (18-27) is in the midst of an eight-game home stand and is riding a three-game winning streak coming into tonight's contest. The Knicks have shot 52.3 percent from the field during their win streak, scoring at least 110 points each time after not reaching that mark in 19 straight.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - C.J. Miles, SF - Luol Deng
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Tyler Zeller

Knicks: PG - Pablo Prigioni, SG - Raymond Felton, SF - Iman Shumpert
PF - Carmelo Anthony, C - Tyson Chandler

Status Update: (Cavs) - Anderson Varejao, (Left Knee Contusion and Hyperextension, Questionable), Carrick Felix, (Left patellar Stress Fracture, Out)

(Knicks) - Amar'e Stoudemire, (Sprained Left Ankle and Bone Bruise, Out), Kenyon Martin, (Sprained Left Ankle, Out), Andrea Bargnani, (Torn Ligament, Left Elbow, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cleveland has won 14 of the last 20 meetings with New York dating back to 2008, including a 109-94 victory in the two teams' last meeting at The Q on December 10th.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 82-106 against New York (55-40 Home, 27-66 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Crashing the Glass

With a smaller lineup, starting essentially three guards and Carmelo Anthony at power forward, New York is at a disadvantage in the paint. This has lead to the Knicks being the fourth-worst rebounding team in the NBA at 40.6 boards a game.

In January, the Cavs are pulling down 13.9 offensive rebounds per game (2nd-most in NBA this month) and scoring 15.4 second chance points (6th in NBA this month). On the season, Cleveland ranks 5th in offensive rebounds per game (12.4)

The Cavs should look to crash the boards at both ends of the floor, offensively to create second chance points and defensively to get quick outlets leading to fastbreak opportunities.

Key Matchup

Backcourt Battle

With the Cavaliers seemingly having the advantage in size over New York's small lineup, the Cavaliers backcourt will be looked upon to win their battle with the Knicks three guard set.

In the win over New York on Dec. 10, Kyrie Irving posted his third double-double of the season with a game-high 37 points on 14-23 (.609) shooting, including 4-7 (.571) from three-point range, a game-high 11 assists, one steal and one turnover in 36 minutes. He became the first Cavs player since World B. Free on March 29, 1986 (43 points, 11 assists, 0 turnovers) to tally at least 37 points and 11 assists, while having one or fewer turnovers in a single game. Before Irving, the last NBA player to accomplish that feat was Kobe Bryant on December 29, 2009 (44 points, 11 assists, one turnover versus Golden State).

Dion Waiters is the highest scoring bench player in the Eastern Conference at 14.5 points per game this season. He is averaging more points off the bench than any Cavalier player since Hot Rod Williams scored 16.9 points per game off the pine in 1989-90 (minimum 20 games).

Where to Catch the Action

TV: TNT, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM & Sirius 217

For live in-game updates, follow @cavs, @CavsJoeG, @CavsFredMcLeod, @MrCavalier34, @CavsJMike and @chones22 on Twitter.

Be sure to check for Joe Gabriele's live in-game blog providing instant analysis and game notes. Plus, get into the discussion as die-hard Cavs fans talk about the game on CavFanatic's GameDay Thread.

Programming Note

Tonight, FOX Sports Ohio will not be airing the Cavs vs. Knicks game. The game can be seen on TNT only.

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs travel to the Lone Star State for a Texas two-step beginning with the Houston Rockets on Saturday and the Dallas Mavericks on Monday.