New York Knicks (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS, 1-3 O/U) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-3 SU, 1-5 ATS, 3-3 O/U)
NBA: Sunday, October 29, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Cleveland Cavaliers -10. Total: 209.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will be playing the second game of a back-to-back situation when they host the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena on Sunday night. Cleveland is coming off consecutive losses at the hands of Brooklyn and New Orleans. The Knicks halted a season-opening three-game skid by destroying Brooklyn on Friday.
Point of concern
New York seems to be enduring a steady rotation of injured point guards. Rookie Frank Ntilikina missed two games of the season with an ankle problem. Ntilkina is back, but now Ron Baker is down with a sore ankle. Baker was a surprise inactive for Friday’s 107-86 rout of the Nets after playing for at least 10 minutes in each of the first three contests, averaging 3.7 points and 3.7 assists per game. Fortunately for the Knicks, Ntilkina returned on Friday and starred along with fellow guard Jarrett Jack. The former came off the bench and logged 23 minutes while contributing nine points and five assists. Jack started and had eight points, seven rebounds, five assists, and one steal.
“I like how he came in the game and didn’t force anything,” Kristaps Porzingis–who poured in 30 points–said of Ntilkina. “He had a good pace and controlled the team. Being 19 years old, he’s great at doing that…. Going forward, he’s going to be able to get triple-doubles. That’s what type of player he is.”
Taking time to gel
The Cavaliers added several new faces in the offseason and are having a little trouble getting on the same page early in 2017-18. Cleveland returned J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson to the starting lineup on Wednesday to spark the defense, but the Nets still ended up knocking down 17 three-pointers while scoring a 112-107 upset. LeBron James served as the point guard on Wednesday with Derrick Rose (ankle) and Dwyane Wade (knee) out of the lineup. James went for 29 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds. He handled the point in each of the last two games–handing out 13 assists in each–but the team doesn’t plan to have him there permanently.
“It’s a lot of pressure to put on LeBron to have to handle the ball for 40 minutes,” head coach Tyronn Lue explained. “That’s why I talk about playing the point guard position, it can wear you down. Unfortunately, that’s all we have right now until D-Rose gets back.
“These guys are NBA players,” Lue said of the Nets. “If we don’t contest shots and get out to the 3-point line, they’re going to continue to make them. We come into the game, we told them they’re second in the league in attempts and they’re getting them up. We’re running around here worrying about getting the Brooklyn (draft) pick (in 2018)…. They might want our pick.”
The New York Knicks are:
- 1-6 ATS in their last seven overall
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games against the Eastern Conference
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games against teams with winning records
The Cleveland Cavaliers are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games against teams with losing records
- 5-0 ATS in their last five games against New York
- 21-10 Over in their last 31 overall
Cleveland will be eager to end a two-game losing streak and will surely show no mercy on the less-talented Knicks. Cavaliers’ forward Kevin Love has recorded a double-double in five of the first six games and is averaging 11.2 rebounds. He scored 26 points in Saturday’s loss to the Pelicans. The Knicks are 1-6 ATS in their last seven overall, 1-4 ATS in their last five against the Eastern Conference, 1-4 ATS in their last five against winning opponents, and 0-5 ATS in the last five meetings between the two teams. Cleveland is 4-1 ATS in its last five against losing opponents. Expect those trends to continue.