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
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /

Prediction No. 3: Cleveland takes the 2-1 series lead

Jalen Brunson came up big for New York in Game One, dropping 27 points and only committed a single turnover. Limiting his output was key to Cleveland’s win in Game Two, leaving Brunson shooting below 30 percent from the field for the first time since December.

Through assertive defensive traps forced Jalen Brunson into desperate passes and bad shots, a significant shift from the Cavs’ defensive gameplan in the first match.

Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff did what every coach needs to do coming off of a loss in the playoffs and adjusted the team’s strengths to respond to their shortcomings from before. There has been plenty of criticism toward Bickerstaff, earned and not earned, throughout the season, but his critical decisions have led Cleveland to figure out New York.

The Knicks’ troubles did not only come from Brunson’s offensive struggles. The Cavaliers won the rebounding battle in Game Two, which was crucial heading into that game, after losing the same battle in their original loss. As a team whose identity is centered on their defensive presence and dominant control of the post Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley create, failing to rebound leaves the Cavs with a poor chance to win.

Surely, Bickerstaff will continue to alter Cleveland’s approach going into Game Three in order to steal a game on the road and take his team closer to a deep postseason push.

Next. Garland’s Game 2 explosion can get him on a roll. dark

Considering Cleveland’s determination, star power in Mitchell and Garland, and strategic game planning, the Cavaliers head to New York with a favorable opportunity to take the series lead.