Cavs to right the ship in Big Apple?
With the losses mounting both on the floor and in the court of public opinion, LeBron James’ Cavaliers aim to get back on track vs. the Knicks tonight.
Online sports book BetDSI.com likes the visiting squad to sweep this series for the first time since 2009. Cleveland is installed as an 8-point favorite at Madison Square Garden, with the over/under total sitting at 201.5.
The Cavs (51-21) and their increasingly polarizing star are in the midst of yet another soap opera-like week. While James addressed comments about yearning to play with Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony before their careers end, his current teammates came up woefully short in Thursday’s 104-95 loss to the Nets. The four-time MVP posted 30 points on 13-of-16 shooting, but the trio of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith combined to miss 32 of 46 attempts.
On the other hand, New York (30-43) suddenly feels buoyed thanks to back-to-back victories over Chicago. Kristaps Porzingis notched 29 points in Wednesday’s 115-107 win, then went for 19 and 10 boards the following night. The rookie sensation’s partner in crime, Anthony, also chipped in with 26 two nights ago.
James’ longtime friend and Olympic sidekick actually missed the most recent Cleveland-New York meeting. Back on Dec. 23, Love recorded a memorable double-double as the Cavaliers outfoxed the Knicks at home. Look for head coach Tyronn Lue to prioritize touches for Love and fellow post presence Tristan Thompson this evening, too, considering the Central Division leaders’ overdependence on the three-ball lately.
Every hoops fan in the country recognizes that James seems to perform at an even higher level when the Big Apple comes calling. A less-publicized note: Irving’s 28.4-point average in five trips to MSG represents his highest at any arena. If only for one night, James’ gang will indeed band together and snuff out the Knicks’ moderate momentum.
SATURDAY NBA FREE PICK: CLEVELAND -8