By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Cavaliers | Quicken Loans Arena
When: Friday | 7:30 PM
Where to Watch: MSG Networks
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
Knicksnow Live In-Game Chat
New York: Wouldn't you know, the streak ended at lucky 13 last night in Chicago -- the same place where Miami's 27-game winning streak ended a few weeks ago. Playing without Tyson Chandler or Kenyon Martin (who will both miss tonight's game, as well), the Knicks gave a spirited effort and forced overtime, but as Carmelo Anthony said afterwards, by that point they were "gassed." The loss narrowed their lead for the 2 seed to two games, with the much-anticipated matchup with Indiana looming on Sunday. Raymond Felton suffered a "slightly sprained right knee" late in the loss, but said he would be good to go tonight.
Cleveland: The Cavs have four games left in a a disappointing season; they are 2-12 in their last 14. Kyrie Irving continues to impress as one of the NBA's best young players, and others, like Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters, have shown flashes, but it's yet to translate into meaningful success. Do-it-all center Anderson Varejao played only 25 games before undergoing season-ending knee surgery, and it's all added up to a 24-54 record, an unstable coaching situation for Byron Scott, and yet another foray into the Draft lottery for the post-LeBron Cavaliers.
Last Time Out
New York: Injuries forced Chris Copeland to start at center, but the Knicks fought hard and almost won at the buzzer before falling in OT to the Bulls, 118-111, in Chicago last night.
Cleveland: With precious ping pong balls at stake, the Cavs lost the proverbial battle, 111-104, Wednesday against Detroit, but gave themselves a better chance at winning the war when the draft order is determined on May 21st.
The Numbers Game
Last night, the Knicks broke the NBA's single-season record for 3-pointers made, with 847.
Matchup to Watch
Chris Copeland vs. Tristan Thompson
Copeland can score the basketball. We know that. But despite being 6-foot-9, he doesn't play like a "big man," preferring instead to face up and attack off the dribble or knock down jumpers. Of course, with the roster so dinged up, we can throw positional norms out the window. But even though the Knicks will look to spread things out, guys like Thompson will still do what they do. He's become a great rebounder, pulling down over 17% of available boards, and will put pressure on the Knicks to keep him off the glass and from getting put-back buckets.
What to Look For
Both Carmelo Anthony (19) and J.R. Smith (14) pulled down season-high rebounds last night. While crashing the boards has become a trend for those two, last night's performance was born out of necessity. The Knicks will again need a collective effort on the glass with Chandler and Martin out, and they showed they are capable of it last night, losing the rebounding battle by only one to Chicago. Felton's injury situation will be worth monitoring, especially against a point guard as dynamic as Irving. Expect to see a team effort on him, as well, with Shumpert and possibly even Smith getting their turns.