NEW YORK, NY (TM216) – After coming off a big win on Monday against Eastern Conference rivals, the Toronto Raptors, the Cavaliers (14-5) face another hot team in the New York Knicks (12-9) tonight at 8 EST on ESPN/FSO. The Knicks come into tonight’s game on a four-game winning streak. They are also (9-3) at home. The Cavaliers will have their hands full, as this is not the same Knicks team they faced in their home opener.
To make matters worse for the Cavaliers, guard J.R. Smith is listed as questionable with a left knee hyperextension, suffering the injury in the beginning of the game against Toronto. An MRI showed no structural damage to the knee. Even though Smith has struggled to score–averaging only 7.8 ppg–he provides good defense and gives the Cavaliers a scoring option other than the “Big Three.”
“I just landed wrong,” Smith told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Was just trying to shoot my normal floater and I came down on it wrong.”
Forward LeBron James also comes into tonight’s game banged up, having landed on his left knee wrong after an alley-oop play in the first quarter against Toronto. He was able to finish the game and told reporters that the key is to “get around the clock treatment and be ready for Wednesday.”
The Cavs problem to kick the season off has been their lack of bench production, as well as playing sound defense for 48 minutes. The Knicks give up 106 points per game so the key will be to attack the basket and work out to the three-point line for open shots.
Forward Mike Dunleavy, who the Cavs picked up as a three-point option in the offseason, had major spine surgery last season. This could be the reason for his limited production. The Cavaliers are also currently without a listed backup point guard, as Kay Felder is still getting used to the pro game.
Guard Derrick Rose is listed as uncertain for tonight’s game after suffering back spasms in the Knicks’ 114-103 victory over the Miami Heat.
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