The Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks are set for a bloodbath in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Both teams are evenly matched on both sides of the ball and any game can either be a grueling defensive battle or a fourth of July fireworks display. This series does not have its shortage of storylines as well.
The talk of last offseason was largely centered on Donovan Mitchell being a Knick, but that never came to fruition as the Utah Jazz could not come to an agreement with the Knicks. This allowed for the Cavs to swoop in and acquire the superstar they have been craving since LeBron James left town in 2018. However, the Knicks have their own star guard in Jalen Brunson, who arguably should have been an All Star this season.
Mitchell is very familiar with his game, as Brunson sent him packing last year in the playoffs when he was with the Mavs. Their rematch will be one of the highlights of this series. With all of that being said, this series is destined to go seven games.
Here are my three reasons why the Cavaliers will be victorious in seven games against the Knicks.
Reason No. 1: Home court advantage
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse regained its rowdiness due to the success of the Cavs this season. Of the Cavs’ 51 wins this year, 31 of them came at home. They are 15-6 at home since the new year.
They have a defensive rating of 107.4 in their home games, which is tied with the Memphis Grizzlies for the best in the NBA. Cleveland also has an offensive rating of 115.8, which is good enough for 12th in the league. This gives the Cavs a net rating of 8.4 at home, which is sixth in the NBA. In this series, they will have home court, and a potential Game 7 will be at home for them. In the history of the NBA, the home team is 110-35 in Game 7s.
While the Knicks do have a great road record of 24-17, the Cavs are simply a different team when at home. On top of that, Cavs fans have been STARVING for playoff basketball for the past five years. They are going to be loud and make sure the home team knows they have their back. Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is going to be rocking every game.
Having home court advantage in a series that is a deadlock is vital and if this goes to a decisive seventh game, the Cavaliers will have the edge.