Saturday, March 31, 2012
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks Pre-Game News and Notes March 31
Saturday March 31st 7:30 P.M. ET
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks
The Knicks get right back at after a disappointing loss last night in Atlanta, returning home to face the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Knicks fell to 8-2 under Mike Woodson and look to get back on track again tonight against a Cavalier team they will be facing for the 3rd time this season, with each team winning on their home court in the previous 2 meetings. This is somewhat of a must win game for the Knicks who lead the Bucks by only 1 ½ games for 8th place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Knicks will again without Jeremy Lin, who will sit out his 5th game in a row with a sore right knee. Jared Jeffries is not expected to be back until sometime next week so they will again be without him.
What hurts more is that the Knicks did not escape Atlanta without injury problems. Tyson Chandler shed the brace on his left wrist, but now has tweaked his groin, and is questionable for tonight’s game. Carmelo Anthony has been fighting a strained groin as well, fighting through it the past week and is also listed as questionable. Baron Davis has a strained hamstring and has been fighting through it because the Knicks need him. In regular circumstances it is believed Davis would be sitting. He is also listed as questionable.
I would fully expect all of the questionable players to be on the court tonight because of the implications of the game. The Knicks desperately need to get back on track, even after just one loss, because of the limited amount of time left in the regular season.
-Which Melo Will Show?
Carmelo Anthony has been outstanding recently, but has struggled throughout the season on 2nd nights of back-to-backs. The Knicks will need him to continue fighting through his nagging injures and carry them once again tonight against a scrappy Cavalier team. All three times this season that Anthony scored 27 or more points in the first game of a back-to-back, he had a drop-off in the second game.
The Knicks need a spark from their bench tonight unlike in Atlanta last night. Steve Novak and J.R. Smith have to lead the way for the second unit and come out with energy and intensity. The short-handed Knicks can not afford another flat start tonight like yesterday in Atlanta. Josh Harrellson has been filling in admirably for Amar’e Stoudemire and Jared Jeffries, playing great defense and rebounding well. Once he gets his rhythm back on his shot it should be even better.
Also for tonight, there may be an extended Mike Bibby and Toney Douglas sighting. With Baron Davis ailing with a strained hamstring, his minutes have to be monitored. With Lin still injured, Douglas and Bibby are the only other Point Guards on the roster. Woodson was quoted as saying he may increase Douglas’ role after last night’s game in Atlanta. It will be interesting to see how Douglas responds if he is indeed given more playing time with how sparingly he has played the last 8 weeks.