WATCH THIS: Knicks vs. Cavs
What to watch for tonight against the Cavaliers
After losing an incredibly disheartening game in Charlotte on Wednesday, the orange and blue are looking to regroup and focus on LeBron and the Cavaliers Friday night at the Garden.
The loss on Wednesday dropped the Knicks back into the loss column, but a win against Cleveland could turn things around for them, put them at .500, and generate a positive feeling in the locker room.
Here are some interesting aspects to look for tonight:
‘Melo vs. LeBron Round II
Neither Cleveland’s prodigal son nor the New York-born baller played especially well in the first match-up in Ohio. Nonetheless, Carmelo Anthony seems to have figured out a rhythm, especially in the middle of games.
On the other hand, he’s facing his Team USA teammate and friend, LeBron James. LeBron is a fantastic defender along with his offensive accomplishments and knows many of ‘Melo’s moves.
Tonight’s game will give us better insight on how healthy Carmelo is after the season-ending knee surgery. He’s been up and down so far this season with stringing some great moments but has not faired well against defenders like Kawhi Leonard. Bron-Bron will be a difficult test for ‘Melo.
What’s important to keep in mind is the better overall scoring the team has surrounding Anthony. With better options around him, ‘Melo doesn’t necessarily need to take 25+ shots as long as he’s efficient and moving the ball.
JR’s Back and Afflalo Makes His Regular Season MSG Debut
Here’s to hoping the temptation of New York is too much for JR to handle again. His first game against the Knicks tonight will most likely a negative reception from the fans.
JR will be matched up against Arron Afflalo tonight, who flashed a few nice shots on Wednesday against the Hornets, but also had some questionable selections. Although he finished with 12 points in 28 minutes, Afflalo will be key in providing scoring alongside Carmelo and making sure JR Smith stays cold.
Whether he’s 100% healthy or not, “Spell Check” is an important cog for the Knicks, in order to silence critics of the disastrous backcourt of Calderon and Vujacic. While many call for either Langston Galloway or the rookie Jerian Grant to start, Afflalo needs to provide veteran leadership along with ‘Melo and Robin Lopez.
This means never giving up on plays, providing the pace the Knicks want to dictate, and pressuring opponents on the defensive side.
Kristaps Porzingis’ impact on the Knicks and the wider NBA has been thunderous. With comparisons to Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki, the media and fans have been quite pleasantly surprised by his effort and skill set on the basketball court.
That’s why the reversal of his game-winning three was so crushing for Knicks fans. Yeah, we’re used to losing and losing in heartbreak, but seeing this kid have his moment taken away from him was especially devastating. Thus, “PorzinGate” was born.
Nonetheless, our Alabaster Ewing is unshaken by the reversal. Porzingis has four double-doubles in the same number of games and has remained tough on the boards while his shot is still coming to him. I have faith and I know fans do too. Let’s sit back and enjoy watching him grow, and get up out of our seats when he posterizes players.