It’s an intriguing matchup. The season series is tied at one apiece and it’s the host New York Knicks, who’s terrible at home, and the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers, who’s awful on the road.
Catch the game tomorrow at 8:30 AM, Manila time.
HOME: New York Knicks (25-23, 11-13 HOME)
Projected starting five:
- Jalen Brunson
- Quentin Grimes
- RJ Barrett
- Julius Randle
- Jericho Sims
The Knicks are back home again after a short, two-game roadtrip. It should feel good, except they are below .500 at home and have also stumbled into a four-game losing skid – it’s a bummer as it preceded a 7-1 stretch.
Nevertheless, we should see New York’s usual suspects as their headliners. Their main man at the Power Forward position, however, Julius Randle, should look to be more efficient. He’s only at 16.5 points per game on an iffy 37.5% shooting in two meetings with the Cavaliers. Fortunately, floor general Jalen Brunson is doing his usual stuff (19.5 PPG, 5.5 APG), so it’s a 1-1 instead of two-zip. Finally, big men Isiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims will have their hands full in the interior matchup against Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley.
The Knicks are giving up a woeful 125.8 PPG in their current four-game losing streak, but they are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
AWAY: Cleveland Cavaliers (29-19, 9-14 AWAY)
Projected starting five:
- Darius Garland
- Caris LeVert
- Donovan Mitchell / Isaac Okoro
- Evan Mobley
- Jarrett Allen
The Cavaliers are not on a good stretch as of late. Though able to maintain their scoring defense on top, they have only gone 4-5 in their last nine games. The good thing, though, is they are coming off a solid 114-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks – yes, Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t around, but the Cavs themselves are depleted as Donovan Mitchell has sat out the last three games due to a groin injury.
Mitchell is currently listed as probable for tomorrow’s contest. His presence would be huge, obviously, given how he’s ninth in the league in scoring at 28.4 PPG and netted 30.5 PPG in the two previous matchups with the Knicks.
If Mitchell is unable to go, there are plenty of weapons for the Cavs to use: Darius Garland (21.7 PPG, 8.1 APG), Caris LeVert (15.1 PPG), and Jarrett Allen (13.7 PPG, 9.6 RPG). Second-year big man Evan Mobley is in that mix as well – his rhythm is smooth right now as he just posted 38 points on 19-for-27 shooting in their win against the Bucks.
The Cavs have looked good for the most part, but the road is a bit different. They are just 4-12-2 ATS in their last 18 road games.
Handicap: The Knicks (+3) win and snap their skid.
Over/Under: This may turn into a defensive slugfest and they’ll slightly miss 219. Going under looks better.