Cleveland ready to rock anew vs. New York
The Cavaliers are ready to revel in their first NBA title in 52 years. But will the new-look Knicks spoil the celebration in northeast Ohio?
Two Eastern Conference heavyweights tip off the 2016-17 season at 7:30 p.m. ET. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the defending champs odds of -550 to begin on a winning note. New York, on the other hand, enters Quicken Loans Arena as a +375 underdog.
Prior to the contest, Cleveland plans to lift its banner to the rafters and dispense rings. Once the appropriate feting has unfolded, it’s time for business against Jeff Hornacek’s talented crew. The Knicks brought in Derek Rose and Joakim Noah during the offseason to join core contributors Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. Rose, however, participated in just three practices since he was cleared of sexual assault charges last week. New York’s entire roster, in fact, should require ample time in which to gel.
That’s obviously not the case in the Land. Rather, LeBron James’ crew simply wants to sustain the momentum that culminated in June’s march to the crown. The Cavaliers became the first squad in history to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals. Still, what does the encore include? Nearly every key cast member returns for another run. Shooting guard J.R. Smith could be on a minutes restriction early, though, on account of just re-upping with the club several weeks ago.
We’re intrigued to see the level at which the Knicks compete this evening. Hornacek must view the occasion as a huge litmus test, albeit one on Oct. 25. Yet it seems inevitable that Cleveland will pull away in the second half.
TUESDAY NBA FREE PICK: KNICKS/CAVALIERS UNDER 206 POINTS