Eastern Conference 4-5 Playoff Preview
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the fourth seed in the East, with a four-game lead over the fifth-place New York Knicks. The Knicks have a 2½ game lead over the sixth seed, and with most teams having six or five games left, they should hold on. The teams will play Friday.
On Wednesday, the Knicks beat the Miami Heat 101-92 in a gritty and physical defensive struggle. The Cavaliers lost their previous game 120-118, facing the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, despite Donovan Mitchell scoring 44 points.
Knicks Role Players Step Up
In the fourth quarter of the Knicks’ win over the Heat, head coach Tom Thibodeau decided to play five players all 12 minutes. Three of those players had started the game on the bench, combining for 13 points in the quarter.
The two leading members of this Knicks team, Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson, did not close out the game. Randle left the game early with an ankle injury that could sideline him for two weeks, and Brunson looked rusty after missing the last two games with an injury.
Immanuel Quickley Last 3 Games
25 PTS | 7 AST | 5 REB | 2 STL | 41% FG
40 PTS | 9 AST | 5 3PM | 2 REB | 78% FG
24 PTS | 4 AST | 3 STL | 2 3PM | 57% FG
— KnicksMuse (@KnicksMuse) March 30, 2023
A big reason why New York’s reserves can be trusted late in games is because of Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes, and Josh Hart off the bench. NBA lines are starting to see Quickley as the favorite for the Sixth Man of the Year award. He has been great, putting up big performances over the last three games.
Grimes, a starter but still a role player, and Hart have solidified the perimeter defense for the Knicks. The two can also show some offensive flashes like Grimes scoring 23 points and hitting five 3s against the Heat. The Knicks’ role players could play a big part in them becoming a sneaky NBA pick to make the second round.
Cavaliers Preparing for Playoffs
For the first time since 2018, the Cavaliers will be in the playoffs. The biggest story highlighted by NBA news was that this is the first time since 1997-98 that the franchise made the playoffs without LeBron James on the roster.
Donovan Mitchell showed out tonight 🔥
Cavs fell to Atlanta in a close one pic.twitter.com/4WgPtwY7xe
— NBA (@NBA) March 29, 2023
It is hard not to focus on Mitchell being the catalyst for this success, having an immediate impact since being acquired. He is averaging a career-high 27.6 points per game.
Mitchell is the biggest reason Clevland has hopes in its NBA Finals odds but is far from being the only player succeeding. Darius Garland is having nearly an identical season to last year when he made All-Star, and that is with him having the ball less in his hands because of Mitchell.
Then there is Evan Mobley, who might be one of the best defensive players in the league and is growing on the offensive end in his second season. Finally, Jarrett Allen has the third-best defensive rating in the league.
Knicks vs Cavaliers Game Injuries
Knicks vs Cavaliers Head-to-Head
The Cavaliers won the first game at home on Oct. 30 in a blowout. However, the Knicks won the next two games at home on Dec. 4 and Jan. 24, in close contests, separated by less than 10 points. Cleveland was favored in all three games, and Mitchell has had great performances in each meeting.
Knicks vs Cavaliers Game Information
- Game: Knicks (44-33) vs Cavaliers (48-29)
- Location: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, OH
- Day/Time: Friday, March 31st, 7:30 p.m. EST
- Knicks vs Cavaliers Live Stream: NBA Game Pass
Knicks vs Cavaliers Betting Lines
Knicks vs Cavaliers Picks and Prediction
With Randle’s injury and Brunson not looking like himself when the Knicks’ faced the Heat, the Cavaliers have a good chance of winning this game. The Knicks’ role players played well against the Heat, but the Cavaliers are a much better team, especially at home, with a 30-8 record.
On top of that, both teams might be cautious about putting too much on film for the other team to study, with their playoff matchup roughly two weeks away. The game might be decided off pure talent, which Clelvland has more of.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are listed at -170 in our Vegas NBA odds. This means that if you wager $100 on the Cavaliers, you have a chance to win $59. The New York Knicks is +148, offering a chance to win $148 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives the Cleveland Cavaliers a 62.96% chance to win, with the New York Knicks at 40.32%.
Knicks vs Cavaliers Trends
Knicks vs Cavaliers Edge
Knicks vs Cavaliers Results
Knicks vs Cavaliers Game Summary
Cavaliers vs Knicks Previous Game (Jan 24, 2023)
The Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks meet on Tuesday in one of the more intriguing games on the card.
The Knicks have lost four consecutive games to fall to 25-23, but the Cavaliers are 9-14 on the road, making this an even matchup.
NBA betting markets have the Cavaliers at -3, which is a fair line for this Eastern Conference contest at Madison Square Garden.