Social Nav Bar Overrides - v2019
Global Sub Nav - v2019
Blank Spacer - 20px
The Cavaliers and Knicks both come into tonight’s meeting looking to win consecutive games for the first time this year as the Wine & Gold’s three-game trip rolls into Madison Square Garden on Sunday night – the first of four meetings this season.
On Friday night, John Beilein’s young squad got its first road win of the season, continuing their master of the Wizards in Washington with a wire-to-wire victory. The Cavaliers jumped on Bradley Beal and Co. early, establishing a 21-point lead before the Wiz whittled it down to one in the fourth quarter. But some big buckets by Kevin Love down the stretch, a timely late triple by Collin Sexton and Tristan Thompson’s dominance on both ends preserved the win.
Despite topping the Mavericks in Dallas on Friday night, the Knicks come into tonight’s meeting with the worst record in the Conference, having dropped seven of their first nine games. In Friday’s win, however, New York got a small taste of revenge against Kristaps Porzingis – holding off Dallas in the second half and weathering another huge triple-double (38 points, 14 boards, 10 assists) from Luka Doncic.
As they did on Friday night, the Cavaliers have history on their side tonight – having swept the regular season series in three of the last four campaigns, including a 3-0 mark last year. The Wine & Gold have won 15 of the last 17 vs. New York and have the longest win streak over the Knicks at the Garden in their team’s history – having run off 10 straight victories.
It’s kind of fun to imagine what the Wine & Gold’s frontline will be like when Ante Zizic and John Henson return from injury. Because right now, the Cavaliers' two starting big men are playing as well as any tandem in the conference.
Tristan Thompson continued his All-Star-caliber play in Friday night’s win over Washington.
The ninth-year man from Texas finished with a team-best 21 points to go with 12 boards – nine of those off the offensive glass. Thompson went 8-of-12 from the floor, adding three assists, three steals and a pair of blocks. The longest-tenured Cavalier is averaging career-highs in points (17.4), rebounds (11.6), assists (2.8), steals (0.88) and blocks (1.63) this season.
He ranks 3rd in the NBA in double-doubles with seven and his 5.1 offensive rebounds per contest lead the league.
Kevin Love has been just as good – leading the team in scoring (18.5), rebounding (14.1) and assists (3.9). Love finished with 16 points on just six field goal attempts on Friday – adding 12 boards and a pair of blocks.
Other than LeBron James and Anthony Davis in L.A., Love and Thompson are the only other NBA duo averaging a double-double.
They’ll have their hands full on Sunday night, however, taking on New York’s nasty tandem of Julius Randle and Marcus Morris.
Morris is having his best season as a pro – averaging 19.1 points per, including a 26.0 ppg stretch over his last four outings. In the past week, he’s gone for 29 points in games against Boston and Dallas, adding a 28-point effort in a recent loss to the Kings.
In his first year in New York, Randle has been very good – averaging 15.0 points and 9.3 rebounds. Like Love and Thompson, Randle notched double-doubles in each of his first five games this year.
The Cavaliers' youth movement was on full display in Friday night’s win over the Wizards.
Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. each had their best nights at the NBA level – both tallying career-highs in scoring, with Garland leading the Wine & Gold in assists.
Garland, this past June’s No. 5 overall pick, had been struggling heading into that game – having failed to score double-figures in each of his last five games, shooting 26 percent from the floor and 17 percent from long-range over that stretch. But Garland was locked in against Washington – going 6-of-11 from the floor for 15 points, adding those six helpers to go with a pair of steals.
Porter did most of his best work in the second quarter, netting nine of his 13 points before intermission, going 5-of-11 from the floor to go with three boards and a steal.
Collin Sexton, who’s actually a sophomore, but still not drinking age, finished with 16 points, going 7-of-19 from the floor – including a rim-rattling three-pointer in the closing minutes to seal the deal in Friday’s win.
The Knicks used a Lottery pick on guard Frank Ntilikina four years ago, and it’s taken him a while to find his NBA footing. But with an injury to Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr. having to miss time for personal reasons, the former No. 8 overall pick has been pressed into duty.
He responded well on Friday night – finishing with 14 points, six boards, four assists, four steals and three blocks while committing just a single turnover on the night.