As they are aligned in the NBA playoff picture today, the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers will face each other in the first round. Todays game, at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. they will face off one more time before the end of the regular season on April 9th.
The New York Knicks have won two of the previous three matchups this season. Some of the key takeaways:
- Julius Randle will be out because of an Ankle Sprain
- Each team has capitalized on Home Court Advantage
- The Knicks have outrebounded the Cavaliers in all three games
- Cleveland is 4 and 1 coming into tonight’s game
- Knicks are coming in on a 2 game win streak, but are 2-3 in their last 5.
Julius Randle will not be playing in tonight’s game. With his absence so to will be the double-double he produces within the series. With limited big men on the roster to fill the role, the Knicks will have trouble keeping the likes of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen off the boards.
Winning today will solidify the Cavaliers position in the 4th seed in the NBA playoffs. They have already clinched their first playoff since the final season LeBron James was in Cleveland.
In a losing effort to the Atlanta Hawks, Donovan Mitchell went off for 44 points. His tenth 40 point game of the season. It will be interesting to see if Cleveland can get up quick against a struggling Knicks team and give their players some rest. There is always the possibility they aim to convincingly defeat their future playoff opponent like the Boston Celtics did last night against the Milwaukee Bucks’
Jalen Brunson and the Knicks face a up hill battle with Randle out for at least the next two week. They would need to win out and the Cavaliers would have to lose out of the remaining games in order for the the seed change to happen. For now the Knicks playoff future rests with Randle’s ankle recovery.