GameDay Preview: Cavs at Knicks

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Tyson Chandler, Tristan Thompson
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (5-19) head to the Big Apple tonight to take on the New York Knicks (17-5) at Madison Square Garden. Tipoff at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Wine and Gold will look to snap a two-game skid after falling to the Milwaukee Bucks, 90-86, last night at Quicken Loans Arena.

New York has gotten off to a great start this season and returns six players from last season’s postseason roster: Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Steve Novak, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, and Amar’e Stoudemire. There are nine new players on the roster. NBA champions Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace joined the team via free agency. Forward/center Marcus Camby, guard Raymond Felton, and forward/center Kurt Thomas, all in their second stints with the New York Knicks, were acquired via sign-and-trade.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - C.J. Miles, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Anderson Varejao

Knicks: PG - Raymond Felton, SG - Jason Kidd, SF - Ronnie Brewer
PF - Carmelo Anthony, C - Tyson Chandler

Injuries: (Cavs) - Omri Casspi, (Gastroenteritis, Out), Dion Waiters, (Left Ankle Sprain, Out)
(Knicks) - Carmelo Anthony, (Sprained Left Ankle, Questionable), Marcus Camby (Sore Left Foot, Questionable), Iam Shumpert (Torn Left ACL and Meniscus, Out), Amar’e Stoudemire (Left Knee Debridement, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Knicks lead the Cavaliers in the all-time series, 103-81, including a 65-27 mark in games played in New York, but the Cavaliers have a 54-38 advantage playing at home.

The two teams split four games last season with each winning both games in their own arena. In three of those games, Kyrie Irving averaged 16.7 points and 5.7 assists. Carmelo Anthony tallied 17.0 points, 4.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game in all four meetings.

Key to the Game/Key Matchups

Keys to the Game

Matchups
The Knicks start three guards, and assuming Carmelo Anthony plays, the All-Star small forward plays the power forward position in New York's small starting lineup. Because of the unique lineup, matchups will play a key part in Byron Scott's gameplan.

The Knicks have had a lot of success with the combination of Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Carmelo Anthony, Ronnie Brewer and Tyson Chandler as they are tied for ninth in the NBA with a plus-39.

If Melo plays, one would have to believe that the Cavs' best on-ball defender, Alonzo Gee, will draw the defensive assignment against the Knicks top dog. With Alonzo on Melo, that leaves Cavs' power forward Tristan Thompson left to guard one of the Knicks' three starting guards. At the offensive end, Thompson will more than likely have the size and strength advantage against whomever guards him.

Needless to say, matchups will play a key factor in tonight's game.

Containing Melo/Felton
Felton has recorded 25 double-doubles as a member of the New York Knicks and has played a major part in the Knicks early success. New York's floor general is averaging 15.9 points and a team-high 6.9 assists.

Anthony sets the table for the Knicks offensively and can score in many different ways. The nine-year vet is averaging 27.9 points to go along with 6.4 rebounds.

New York's halfcourt offense runs through either a Felton pick-and-roll or an Anthony iso. The Cavaliers will need to contain those two offensive sets in order to increase their chances of winning.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM 220, Sirius 134, NBA League Pass Audio