New York Knicks (20-38 SU 26-32 ATS) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (46-14 SU 30-29-1 ATS) Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH 7 PM EST Monday March 1, 2010 on Fox Sports Ohio
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: New York +12 / Cleveland -12
Tonight in an Eastern Conference match up the streaking Cleveland Cavaliers host the reeling New York Knicks. The Cavs have the best record in the NBA, have won 3 in a row, and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Knicks are coming off a loss and are only 1-9 in their last 10 games.
This season the Cavs are a NBA best 25-4 at home and the Knicks are 8-18 on the road.
Unless the Knicks catch fire they will miss the playoffs again, as they trail the 8th place team in the East by 8.5 games.
At least the Knicks do not have to face the Diesel tonight, as Shaquille O’Neal is out for a while with a thumb injury.
With Shaq out Anderson Varejao (8.5 ppg 7.8 rpg) will probably start and in his last 3 games he has averaged 13 ppg and 8.3 rpg.
Cleveland has won 7 straight games over New York.
New York has made no bones about their interest in throwing a ton of cash at LeBron James after this season and they may have a legit shot to get him if Cleveland does not, at least, make the finals. James (30 ppg) has killed the Knicks in the 7-game winning streak averaging 35.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 7.9 assists, and 3.1 steals including dropping 50 on them twice.
Tracy McGrady (8.1 ppg) is nursing a sore knee and he is questionable for tonight’s game. Since coming over from Houston in a trade he has averaged 14 ppg in 5 games in a Knicks’ uniform.
The Knicks have had major troubles rebounding this season and they have no chance in this game if the Cavs kill them on the boards.
In their last game the Knicks lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 120-109 on Friday night. The high scorer for New York in the game was reserve Al Harrington going for 31 points on 11/18 shooting. For the game the Knicks shot well going 41/81 from the floor for a FG% of 50.6%. The Knicks did not play good on D allowing the Grizzlies to shoot 45/87 for a FG% of 51.7%.
The Cavs won their last game beating the Toronto Raptors 126-118 in OT on Saturday. Of course LeBron was the high scorer for Cleveland in the game going for 36 points on 10/17 shooting. For the game the Cavs were solid on offense going 42/82 from the field for a FG% of 51.2%. On defense the Cavs did not have the best game allowing the Raptors to shoot 45/93 for a FG% of 48.4%.
This season the Cavs rank 7th in scoring (102.2 ppg) and the Knicks rank 9th (101.4 ppg). On defense the Cavs are solid while the Knicks are not, as Cleveland ranks 5th in points allowed (95.3 ppg) and the Knicks only rank 25th (104.6 ppg). To say the Cavs have been a better team on the boards is a major understatement, as they have a rebounding differential of +3.9 rpg while the Knicks are at -4.9 rpg.
According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Cavs rank 1st (96.86) and the Knicks rank 27th (85.69).
New York is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games as a road underdog of 11.0 or greater and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a double-digit loss at home.
New York has an Over record of 4-0 in their last 4 road games, an Over record of 6-0 in their last 6 games as an underdog, and an Over record of 5-0 fallowing an ATS loss.
Cleveland is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games, 0-5 ATS in their last 5 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game, and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
Cleveland has an Over record of 4-1-1 in their last 6 home games and has an Over record of 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.
In their last 9 games in Cleveland the Knicks are 7-2 ATS.
On the injury front SG Tracy McGrady is day-to-day for New York and C Shaquille O’Neal is Out for Cleveland.
Jason’s Pick: Ok, so the Knicks will not win this game and I do not think it will be close. However, if you check out some of the trends above you see that the Cavs have not been the best ATS team lately. The Cavs have not been playing the best defense and the Knicks will score enough to cover the spread even though they will not win. Take the Knicks and the points in this game.