Mar 8, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Luol Deng (9) and center Spencer Hawes (32) in the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Game 71: Cleveland Cavaliers at New York Knicks Preview


LAST TIME OUT

The Cavs fell to the Houston Rockets, 118-111, on March 22nd. The Wine and Gold made a valiant effort in the final period to try and obtain the victory but they left themselves to great of a margin to make up in only 12 minutes. Leading the way for the Wine and Gold was Dion Waiters with 26 points and eight assists. The team was without Luol Deng, Kyrie Irving and Anthony Bennett.

THIS TIME UP

The Opponent: New York Knicks

Record: 29-40, 16-20 home

Tipoff: 7:30 p.m. ET – Madison Square Garden

Where you can watch: Fox Sports Ohio

Where you can listen: WTAM 1100

Previous Matchup: Knicks 107, Cavaliers 97 on Mar. 8th, 2014

Opponents Blog: Buckets Over Broadway

Injury Report

Cavaliers: PG- Kyrie Irving, (OUT-biceps), F-Anthony Bennett (OUT-knee), G-Carrick Felix (OUT-knee), G-C.J. Miles (QUESTIONABLE-ankle), F-Sergey Karasev (OUT-knee), F-Luol Deng (QUESTIONABLE-ankle)

Knicks: F-Kenyon Martin (OUT-ankle), Andrea Bargani (OUT-elbow)

All 48 minutes

In their last two games, the Cavaliers have outscored their opponent by double digits in the final quarter. And both times, it still was not enough for a victory. They outscored Houston last night by 15 in the fourth and Oklahoma City by 10. They have created a hole to big to climb out of going into the final period. Tonight, the Wine and Gold need to compete for all 48 minutes. As the final two games have indicated, slacking off for the first 36 minutes then trying to kick it into gear in the closing frame is not a recipe for victory. They need to compete all game long to have a shot against the Knicks, who are still fighting for the eighth spot.

 Dion Dropping Dimes

With Kyrie being sidelined due to injury – again – someone had to step up and try to do some of the duties Kyrie is responsible for. And Dion has done that. He has really impressed lately, especially when it comes to facilitating the basketball. Normally Dion can be a hog but he has been doing a nice job playing “Kyrie” as of late. He is taking better shots and helping out his teammates. In his last four games, he has been averaging seven assists per contest. His season average is 2.9 APG. He has really been a different player as of late. Tonight, if the Cavs want a chance to win then Dion must not let the bright lights of Madison Square Garden revert him to his old, selfish ways. He must continue to be the unselfish Dion, who looks to make his teammates better first.

 Culture of Winning

The Cavs sit six and a half games out of the final playoff spot in the East. They have 12 games remaining on their schedule. If you do the math, it looks unlikely the Cavs will obtain it; however, that does not mean they still should not try to win games.  It is about finishing strong and establishing a culture of winning going forward. Tonight, the Wine and Gold are still going to be without some key players. It is important that they compete with the players that they have on the court tonight.

Prediction

The Knicks are not as tough of competition as the Cavs have faced recently( OKC, HOU, MIA). With that said, I think they have a good shot tonight. They have been playing up and down lately but if they can just string together some more minutes like last night’s fourth quarter, I think the Cavs can secure a victory tonight. I look for Dion to continue is good play as of late as well. Cavs 102, Knicks 98.

Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers Dion Waiters Featured Kyrie Irving