Well, well, well. If it isn’t our pre-season pals, the Cleveland Cavaliers. A bunch of ninnies, the lot of ya! The Dennis Smith Jr. versus Matt Mooney matchup will surely delight.
Dennis Smith Jr. is out of tomorrow’s game with a confused left quad, the Knicks say.— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) December 28, 2020
Wait, what? I’m confused. DSJ/Mooney part three is... not happening? How could that be!?
Elfrid Payton vs. Darius Garland
Reggie Bullock vs. Collin Sexton
RJ Barrett vs. Cedi Osman
Julius Randle vs. Larry Nance
Mitchell Robinson vs. Andre Drummond
Loads of injuries and it seems like it could be a little bit of a league wide problem.
According to the NBA injury report, Isaac Okoro, Kevin Love, Matthew Dellavedova, Kevin Porter Jr., and Dylan Windler are OUT for the #Cavs tomorrow against the New York Knicks.— Evan Dammarell (@AmNotEvan) December 29, 2020
That’s a lot of guys!
New injury report, according to Knicks:— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) December 28, 2020
Immanuel Quickley out.
Austin Rivers out.
Obi Toppin out.
Alec Burks questionable.
Kevin Knox probable.
That’s also a lot of guys!
Morant’s injury is the 24th ankle sprain since the the start of the preseason, the most commonly reported injury this year.— Jeff Stotts (@InStreetClothes) December 29, 2020
I mean we’re barely four games in here, that’s a lot of guys! Obviously this is better than a COVID outbreak, but in the midst of a contracted season with 72 games being packed into a short space, sustained health will be paramount. The greatest of abilities will be on center stage: availability.
Keys and Predictions
Hopefully the Cavs will be able to no avail. These teams have been the positive and negative poles of the basketball magnet. New York beat Cleveland the hell down in the pre-season but the Cavs hobbled the Pacers in pre-season. The Knicks then lost to the Pacers and Sixers in the regular season, but the Cavs beat the crap out of the Sixers on Sunday night. At some point these divergent paths must cross.
The Knicks will find an advantage at the four if Julius Randle keeps bringing the pain. The Cavs have more punch in the backcourt though. Missing Alec Burks is going to be a huge blow but if the Knick guards keep playing as aggressively as the did in the game against Milwaukee, they should be able to help the team keep pace.
This game may come down to the matchup at the three. In preseason ball, RJ Barrett split Cedi Osman in ten. Totally stonewalling him defensively and getting a balanced breakfast together on offense. It would be nice to see RJ get the ball rolling again in a favorable matchup. Ultimately, I’m such a broken person that I can’t imagine the Knicks winning games. It’s just too much pressure.
Knicks by -4
Warm Up Music
Frank better get busy.