NBA Game Preview: New York Knicks at Cleveland Cavaliers

Jan 24, 2022

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Game: New York Knicks @ Cleveland Cavaliers  

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET 

Odds: Knicks +7, Cavaliers -7 

Total: 203.5 

Coming off a 110-102 win over the Clippers last night, the Knicks head to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers tonight. The win on Sunday broke a three-game losing streak for the Knicks who dropped consecutive games to Charlotte, Minnesota, and New Orleans. The Knicks failed to reach 100 points in two of the three games. 

The Cavs enter tonight’s game looking to start another winning streak. Cleveland has five win streaks of four games or more this season. They had just won five in a row before losing to Chicago last Wednesday. The Cavs beat Oklahoma City 94-87 on Saturday. Holding to Thunder to 87 points has been typical of Cleveland this season.  

Cleveland is ranked No. 2 in the NBA in points allowed per game this season. The Cavs hold teams to an average of 102.5 points per game. They also rank third in defensive efficiency and that defense has helped Cleveland win six of its last seven games.  

Defense is also a plus for the Knicks who rank fifth in points allowed per game (104.5). The Knicks have won six of their last ten games and they held five of those ten opponents under 100 points. While the Knicks are solid on defense, they also have some difficulty on the other end. New York ranks 27th in the league in scoring averaging 104.1 points per game. The Knicks are even worse when playing on the road. In road games, New York averages just 101 points per game. 

Cleveland isn’t all that much better on the offensive end. The Cavaliers score 107.2 points per game which ranks 22nd in the NBA. The Cavs do, however, rank 12th in offensive efficiency, a full 12 spots higher than New York. 

It should be no surprise with the outstanding defense and the lower-scoring offenses that these two teams trend toward the Under. For the season, the Under is 27-20 in Knicks games and 28-18-1 in Cavs games. Six of the last nine Cavs games have seen the total go Under. For the Knicks, 10 of the last 15 games have gone Under the posted total. 

A major difficulty for the Knicks will be playing on back-to-back nights. Julius Randle, who averages 18.9 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, played over 40 minutes in last night’s win over the Clippers. R.J. Barrett, who had a great game with 28 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists, also played over 40 minutes. Fatigue could be a factor, but in games where the Knicks have played at home the night before and then on the road the night after they are 2-1. 

Cleveland has the best record in the NBA against the spread. The Cavs are 30-15-2 ATS this season. That includes a 15-7 ATS record at home. Cleveland didn’t cover in its last game – the win over OKC – as the Cavs were double-digit (-12) favorites. The Knicks are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games.