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Game Preview: Knicks vs. Cavs, 1/29/21

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This is like the 69th time already, go away!

Cleveland Cavaliers v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Well hello, home town kids! It’s been quite a ride out on the West Coast. The Knicks are now back on the wake up and get out of bed but don’t get dressed coast. Well if you gonna be a layabout, I have some chores for you to do.

If the fans were able to vote for All NBA, Julius would be a lock. As it is, he should at least be named an All Star by the fan contingent. He’s been outright superb this year and the version of Randle we have right now is the best player the Knicks have had since Carmelo Anthony cannonballed into the pool and splashed all the water out.

Of course if the Knicks could only face the Jazz every game, we’d also have Austin Rivers as a second All-NBA level talent. But, whatever, times have certainly changed. The Knicks have Julius, a burgeoning young talent in RJ Barrett, a huge and lithe defensive virtuoso at the center spot with Mitchell Robinson and a rookie point guard who can do a little of everything they need. It’s not a perfect team by any means but it’s a decent time to be a Knick fan.

If only they played some team other than Cleveland. I mean, come on! Can they be blocked from the rest of the schedule please?

New York Knicks’ John Starks (R) blocks a shot att Photo credit should read HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP via Getty Images

Projected Starters

I know you’re not wondering, but Kevin Love is out until at least February, ok? We good? I certainly hope the Nets trade the rest of their depth for him. They’ll probably just have to settle for a free JaVale McGee or Andre Drummond right before the playoffs when the Cavs buy out one of their extraneous bigs. Anyway, Larry Nance is questionable with a bum wrist and its unlikely we’ll see Matthew Dellavadova who is in the concussion protocol. You know who else is? Robert Covington. He got his melon split in the game against the Knicks last week thanks to Enes Kanter throwing Julius Randle’s arms up.

Maybe someone can do a similar move to the Knicks front office and jostle Brock Aller’s arms up into Leon Rose’s ample skull (big brains) and the Knicks can accidentally buy out or waive Elfrid Payton right this instant! Anyway the Knicks are essentially all the way healthy. Good job everybody. That may mean we see Reggie Bullock back in the starting lineup if coach Thibodeau thinks he offers a little more defensive protection against the stick of dynamite they call, Collin Sexton.

Help rid us of Payton v. Darius Garland
Alec Burks v. Collin Sexton
RJ Barrett v. Isaac Okoro
Julius Randle v. Taurean Prince
Mitchell Robinson v. Andre Drummond
Cleveland Cavaliers v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Keys & Predictions

For years, everyone has taken enjoyable dumps on the Knicks and today is no exception. They simply can’t keep defending well, they suck and we hate them, right?

Well sure, they got their problems. What family doesn’t? But what you do see when watching them, opposed to charting them (no shade), is they absolutely wear on teams and they dare the bad shooters to beat them. If bad shooter X happens to have a good night, they lost the gamble, and they’ll have to scramble. On defense the strategy has largely been sound, albeit not sound proof. It’s just a fact of the game.

Thankfully there are some upgrades the team can make to their defense! Kevin Knox hasn’t been getting many minutes in part due to his inability to stay a step ahead of his mark or even in lockstep or even a step behind. He’s generally not very close. Such are the foibles of a young four-man, playing the three. I’ll say it, cus it just always needs saying, but give those minutes to Frank Ntilikina.

Adding a capable wing and point of attack defender to that second unit, who has shown progress as a three point shooter and has way more working parts as a driver, would seem an obvious move. Especially when those Knox-Obi Toppin-Nerlens Noel minutes seem damned from jump street.

The Cavs score heaps of points and their top gun guards have honestly looked legitimately worried when he’s draped on them. It’s a change worth making. Also start Immanuel Quickley and bring Elfrid Payton off the bench behind Ntilikina.

Knicks by -13

Cleveland Cavaliers v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Parting Shot

Patrick Ewing is often remembered most for his baseline turnaround or his loping drop step into the lane but Pat was a cat. He was ferocious and clawsy and he let it all hang out even if he didn’t wanna gab about it. Here goes thumping on stanking ass Danny Ferry. Fuck off, Danny. TMHMAT.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks, Game 1 Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images