Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - What To Watch For

Tonight at 7:30 the Knicks take of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time this season. The Knicks are coming off of a nice, long five day break since their last game - a loss at Miami. The Cavaliers meanwhile played the Celtics in Cleveland and couldn't hold on to the lead and lost the game late in the 4th. This should be a good chance for the Knicks to beat a tired, lesser opponent while they have fresh legs and are at home.

So, these "What To Watch For"s will probably become the new thing when I've already done game previews for a team the Knicks have faced this season. With that said, here's what I'll be looking for in tonight's game:

  • Yesterday it was announced that Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrellson will both be available for tonight's game. When healthy, both have been solid contributors for the Knicks and I don't expect that to change. However, now the Knicks have six guys on the bench who all deserve playing time - Baron Davis, J.R. Smith, Shumpert, Steve Novak, Jared Jeffries, and Harrellson. Meanwhile, guys like Jeremy Lin, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler aren't chopped live either, and usually do good things on the court. So, really, there's quite a logjam of players for Mike D'Antoni to sift through and make rotations with. Should be interesting to see how he juggles all of this.
  • Kyrie Irving has been on a tear lately, and (in my opinion) has been the runaway Rookie of the Year. Jeremy Lin had plenty of media attention during the All-Star weekend, but during his brief playing time in the Rising Stars game, didn't really do anything. Let's hope Jeremy rested those legs and can continue to do great things in the second half of the season. Tonight should be a fun matchup between two young, ever-learning point guards.
  • The Knicks held practice yesterday and surely went through some offensive and defensive plays. The defense however, has been solid, even with the new parts like Smith and Davis, but the offense still needs to come around. Though it's only one practice, it will be interesting to see if the guys have a clearer sense of their roles in the offense.
The sprint to the playoffs begins now, and the Knicks have a super tough month of March waiting ahead of them. Games like these are important to put away early so everyone can rest. Go Knicks!

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