Cavaliers vs Knicks Odds
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
We were treated to one of the most unsightly offensive performances of the season — and perhaps the decade — on Friday night, yet this series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks seems as captivating as ever. After a huge, uplifting victory in Cleveland, the Cavs now find themselves down 2-1 on the road in a crucial Game 4.
Let’s break down the Cavaliers vs. Knicks betting preview and discuss the most valuable betting prediction.
The Cavaliers fell to the Knicks 3-1 in the regular season series, and despite a hopeful Game 2 victory it appears we’re right back to where we thought we’d be in this series. The shortcomings of the Cavaliers are evident: they can’t keep up with the Knicks on the glass and they can’t defend this onslaught from New York inside. Even with that, some great shooting has kept them in games, and it was what ultimately kept the Knicks from coming back in Game 2 of this series.
Well, after shooting near 50% from deep in Game 2, the Cavaliers regressed in a huge way on Friday with just seven of 33 looks dropping from three. If you don’t want to do the math, that’s an unsightly 21.2%. This is going to level out at some point, you’d think, considering Cleveland ranked 12th all season with a 36.7% 3-point percentage, but is it enough to dramatically change the identity of this team on offense?
The positive from this game, of course, would be that Cleveland was able to limit New York to 30.3% shooting from deep on its home floor and also narrowly lost the rebounding battle, 45-42. The team kept pace and played some great defense, yet had no ideas as to how to score when Donovan Mitchell wasn’t lighting it up from deep.
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New York Knicks
It wasn’t pretty, but in the end it was mission accomplished for the Knicks in Game 3. They’ve now out-rebounded the Cavaliers in all but one of the seven games they’ve played this year, which was a Game 2 shellacking in Cleveland. Even in that game, the Knicks were only out-scored in the paint 42-38 and lost the battle on the glass by seven. The work in the paint partially made up for the fact that they were so badly beaten on the glass, and it did seem that game was in the balance for a while.
Rebounding will continue to be the biggest edge for the Knicks in this series, and that’s why it was incredibly encouraging to see RJ Barrett rise to the occasion and not only score 19 points but grab eight rebounds as well. We’ve seen Josh Hart contribute great interior play from the wing, and now it appears the Knicks have another capable player to fill that role in Barrett.
A huge story here for the Knicks, though, was their bench. After a 17-17 start to the game after one quarter, the Knicks’ reserves busted this game open with a 28-15 margin in the second. Cleveland owned the No. 1 scoring defense in the league in the second quarter this season and beat down the Knicks 34-17 in the second quarter of Game 2. New York’s bench had a better Net Rating than the Cavs’ during the regular season, so this isn’t a surprise.
The Knicks out-scored the Cavaliers in the second quarter of their regular-season games, and with the better bench play I wasn’t very surprised to see them pull away in the second on Friday. That performance seemed more like ones we can expect from the Knicks, and even if the Cavaliers see some positive regression in the shooting department I’m not sure that is enough here for me to like Cleveland.
The fact of the matter is New York’s rebounding edge coming into the series seems to be a real one, with the Cavaliers sitting in the bottom 10 in the league in the second half of the season and the Knicks ranking second. That was evident on Friday, and while the shots weren’t falling for the Knicks they were still able to score inside with relative ease.
I see a beaten down Cavaliers team that will continue getting beaten on the road. Game 5 is a tempting spot to play Cleveland, but Game 4 surely isn’t the time.