3 predictions for Cleveland Cavaliers-New York Knicks Game 3

Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /

Prediction No. 2: A physical, defensive contest

In both games thus far, neither team has reached 110 points over four quarters. In the regular season, Cleveland averaged 112.3 points per game, and New York averaged 116 points per game. The steep drop in points scored came from physical defense by both squads, leading to highlight reels of fastbreak action and tough defensive contests.

In the second quarter of Game Two, Quentin Grimes felt blood in his mouth, which was telling as far as playoff physicality. And to cap off the second game, Knicks star forward Julius Randle fell hard after a flagrant foul penalty 1 by Jarrett Allen with less than two minutes left.

The intensity of this first round series has been nothing less than thrilling. In the Garden, the intensity and physicality between the teams will only grow with every jaw dropping dunk and momentum shifting block.

After a brutal loss with plenty of physicality, the Knicks will not accept a similar fate on their own home court. Expect to see a fierce Julius Randle on both ends of the court. Each basket will be earned, and every player’s heart will be tried. In Game Three, resilience will be rewarded.

Both squads have been known to elevate their intensity in tight matchups. With Donovan Mitchell’s brush up with Dillon Brooks earlier this season, the Cleveland fanbase has seen the Cavs respond to physical contests. In response to Mitchell and Brooks being ejected, the Cavaliers ran up and down the court with reckless abandon and eyes set on nothing but winning.

Granted, the Cavaliers have to play with this type of mindset without a physical altercation igniting the hustle. In order to come out victorious, their intensity and grit will need to travel to New York with the Cavs.

With every possession being a fight to score and claw toward the second round, these games will continue to be determined by the team with stronger defense with fewer weak points to exploit.