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New York Knicks (back end) at Cleveland Cavaliers

Team Totals: Knicks 98, Cavs 104

Injury Report: Kemba Walker (Q, knee), Mitchell Robinson (Q, ankle), Nerlens Noel (P, knee), Rajon Rondo (Q, hamstring), Lauri Markkanen (O, ankle)

Knicks projected starters: Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier, R.J. Barrett, Julius Randle, Nerlens Noel

Cavaliers projected starters: Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro, Dean Wade, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen

Thibodeau quotes: Said he liked how they started with energy and being tied together defensively, said ball movement helped R.J. and Randle have big games.

Bickerstaff quotes: Said they approached the game wrong and they didn’t play well in the OKC win, said he didn’t have an update on Lauri Markkanen.

Stats and Notes: 

*So the 202-point total really says it all here. Both of these teams are in the bottom three for offensive pace, and aren’t really trending up. The Cavs have a top-three defense for the season while the Knicks have been the No. 4 defense since Christmas. The Knicks are having some scoring issues overall at 26th since Christmas while the Cavs have been in the middle of the pack. Add some possible garbage time here for the road SEGABABA Knicks, and you have the worst game environment on the slate.

*It’s a hard pass on Julius Randle. He’ll have to deal with the length of Mobley, so it’s going to have to be off-ball stuff with jumpers getting him to a big game.

*R.J. Barrett likely gets a date with Isaac Okoro, but that’s OK. Barrett will have to get his jumper going here because there won’t be much around the basket against this squad. Barrett’s playing time is rarely affected by B2Bs, and Randle having such a horrible matchup could lead to more Barrett running the show.

*If Mitch is out, that could put Nerlens Noel on the board. He looked mobile in the Sunday matinee and Thibs could play him in the upper 20s here. If the Cavs play sloppy like they did on Saturday, that could lead to some sweet stock action.

*Darius Garland is just a stat machine right now. In the last six games, he’s leading the NBA in potential assists at an absurd 21.5 per game (CP3, Dejounte tied for second at 19.5). He’s also up to 19.5 drives per game in that span while ranking second in touch time per game (Harden ahead, but Garland has more touch time per minute). The Knicks really don’t have a lockdown defender to take him out of this game, so he could be carrying his team today.

*The Knicks are one of the worst teams at limiting wide-open 3-pointers, so that could set up Kevin Love if the Cavs push him up slightly in playing time. I wouldn’t go there unless he’s cheap.

*Both Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen are in favorable spots. You can’t play both, and I’d expect the offense to be very PNR-heavy with Allen and Garland. I would lean Allen over Mobley (without looking at prices).

*No Lauri, so Dean Wade smash! Totally kidding there. I don’t know the prices yet, but Wade could be a cheap option if there aren’t many of them today. If you want to punt with Wade, I’m down.

 

Indiana Pacers at New Orleans Pelicans (front end)

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