GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Knicks
The Cavaliers, 4-2 since the break (20-39 overall), continue their five-game homestand tonight when they face the New York Knicks (35-21) for the second of three regular season games in 2012-13. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.
The Cavs are 9-2 in their last 11 games against Eastern Conference opponents, including a perfect 6-0 at The Q. Since Jan. 22, Cleveland holds a 10-7 record, which includes a pair of three-game winning streaks (Jan .22-26 and Feb. 2-8).
New York enters tonight's contest with the Conference's third best record. They are led by their All-Star, frontcourt tandem of Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. Anthony spearheads the offensive attack, averaging 28.6 points per game while Chandler anchors the defense, posting averages of 11.3 points and 11.4 rebounds.
Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic
Cavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Tyler Zeller
Knicks: PG - Raymond Felton, SG - Iman Shumpert, SF - James White
PF - Carmelo Anthony, C - Tyson Chandler
Injuries: (Cavs) - Dion Waiters, (Illness, Questionable), Kyrie Irving, (Sore Right Knee/Hyperextended, Probable), Tyler Zeller, (Illness, Questionable), Omri Casspi, (Appendectomy, Out), Anderson Varejao, (Vastus Medialis Split/Surgery, Out)
(Knicks) - Rasheed Wallace, (Fractured Left Fifth Metatarsal, Out), Marcus Camby, (Strained Left Plantar Fascia, Questionable)
*Subject to change
The Knicks lead the Cavaliers in the all-time series, 104-81, including a 66-27 mark in games played in New York, but the Cavaliers have a 54-38 advantage playing at home.
The last time these two teams squared off on Dec. 15 in New York, Kyrie Irving put up a career-high 41 points to become the only player under the age of 21 to score 40 or more points in an NBA game at the current Madison Square Garden. Despite the Cavaliers 103-102 loss, Irving shot 15-25 (.600) from field, including 5-8 (.625) from long range, and tallied five rebounds and five assists in 39 minutes. C.J. Miles added 17 points, a season-high eight rebounds and one steal in 41 minutes against New York.
Key to the Game/Key Matchups
Key to the Game
The Knicks essentially start three guards, and Carmelo Anthony 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.
One would have to believe that the Cavs' best on-ball defender, Alonzo Gee, will draw the defensive assignment against Anthony. With Alonzo on Melo, that leaves Cavs' power forward Tristan Thompson left to guard one of the Knicks' three starting guards. Conversely, Thompson will have the size and strength advantage against whomever guards him.
With the contrast in styles and lineups, look for the matchups to play a major role in the outcome of the game.
Cavs Bench vs. Knicks Bench
The Cavaliers bench has been a strength within the past month, and in the last 13 games, the Cavs are receiving 40.9 points per game from their bench, which is the 6th-most in the NBA.
Furthermore, the Wine and Gold have had at least two reserve players score in double figures in 14 of their last 16 games, including their most recent contest on last Friday against the Clippers (C.J. Miles-16 and Marreese Speights-10).
New York has a very deep roster, and boasts a "Sixth-Man of the Year" candidate in J.R. Smith. Smith’s 16.0 points per game is third in the NBA among players coming off the bench (minimum 10 games). New York is 24-11 when Smith scores 15 or more points.
Along with Smith, the second unit is led by former All-Stars Amar’e Stoudemire (13.6 ppg) and Jason Kidd (6.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.6 apg).
Where to Catch the Action
- Giveaway: Kyrie Irving Bobblehead (first 15,000 fans)