By Matt Markowitz
The Knicks will tip off against a Cleveland Cavaliers team tonight that finds itself without their All Star point guard, Kyrie Irving, who will miss at least two weeks with a strained bicep tendon. In the interim, Cleveland has been looking toward another young guard of theirs, Dion Waiters, who has taken over the starting point guard role in Irving’s absence. Waiters will find himself facing off with Knicks rookie guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who has been surging of late.
Waiters had a career game this past week, recording his first career double-double, scoring 17 points and dishing out 11 assists against the Miami Heat.
The matchup will be an obstacle for Waiters, since Hardaway Jr. has been lights out recently, playing a major role in the Knicks recent climb in the win column. He snapped out of a post-All-Star break slump by scoring 20 or more points three straight games last week. Hardaway Jr.’s efficiency has been a big help for the team, as he shot 8-for-12 from the field with two 3-pointers against Milwaukee last weekend.
If this match up is anything like the Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star Weekend then the crowd should be in for a treat. The two found themselves in a shootout where Waiters scored 15 consecutive points and Hardaway Jr. scored 10 straight points in a three-minute stretch.