Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks
Pre-Game News and Notes
The New York Knicks will look to continue their winning streak Sunday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are coming off of a semi-disaster from Friday night, as the bench squandered a 15-point lead in less than four minutes. The Knicks have to come in and handle business tonight against a Cavaliers team that has faded from the playoff race, losing their last four games. Here are some things to keep an eye on for tonight.
|Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images|
Player News and Notes:
The Knicks have no new injury or player news. Andrea Bargnani and Kenyon Martin still seem to be nowhere near returning to the court and are looking less and less likely to make a return to the court with every passing game.
The Cavaliers currently are being hammered by injuries. C.J. Miles was unable to get on the court last night and is a game-time decision at best for tonight. Luol Deng has missed the previous three games and looks to be doubtful at best for the game tonight as well. Kyrie Irving is also out once again, as his biceps injury could possibly keep him out the remainder of the season. There is really no reason for the Cavaliers to rush any of these players back as their playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread, so they have very little to play for.
Match-up of the Game: Tyson Chandler vs. Spencer Hawes
Suffering through so many injuries the Cavaliers are pretty thin everywhere, but one player who can still hurt the Knicks is Hawes. The Cavaliers picked Hawes up at the trade deadline from the
76ers and he has brought an added dimension to the Cavalier team as a big
man who can step out and knock down some three pointers. Hawes gave the Knicks
some problems the last time these two teams met, scoring 21 points and pulling
down 10 rebounds. Philadelphia Chandler will
have his hands full but should be able contain Hawes. Chandler
is playing some really good basketball right now, and should continue to do so
Both the Knicks and Cavaliers have moved their prolific sixth men into their respective starting lineups and should make for a good match-up. J.R. Smith against Dion Waiters will be fun to watch throughout the game and easily could have been the match-up of the game.
Both Smith and Waiters are explosive scorers that can take over a game offensively. They both are capable playmakers as well when they want to be. This match-up will be an x-factor in the game tonight as whichever wing gets the better of the other will give their team a nice edge.
-Take Control Early
The Knicks need to continue winning as they currently sit three games behind the Atlanta Hawks for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 13 games remaining. Playing on the road, they need to take a stranglehold right from the start and control the game the rest of the way. Getting Carmelo Anthony going early and often will help the Knicks build an early lead to build off of. If the Cavaliers are able to hang around in the game, their confidence will grow and make things much more difficult on the Knicks than they have to be.
-Mike Woodson Coaching Decisions
Woodson had a huge gaffe in the game Saturday night, inserting the bench players into the game before the win was sealed. A loss in that fashion would have been extremely embarrassing and a final blow to the Knicks playoff hopes. Woodson needs to put the team in better positions to succeed and be willing to make changes when necessary. There was no reason those reserves should have been in the game so early, or in the game that long as the lead disappeared. Woodson is lucky he is even the coach of the Knicks anymore and another gaffe like the one Saturday may be the final blow to the Knicks playoff hopes and his standing as the head coach.