The bad news is Melo is supposed to play tonight. The other bad news is Kyrie is back. The good news is with only 17 minutes in one game (against Philly) under his belt, Uncle Drew probably won’t see more than 20-25 minutes against the Knicks. The other other bad news is that’s more than enough time to hang 30 on Jose Calderon (and the rest of the Knicks’ shoddy perimeter defenders). I read today that Kyrie’s career average of 26 ppg against the Knicks is his highest versus any opponent, a trait I think he shares with half the players in the league.
As for our friends-turned-foes, Timofey Mozgov is playing just 20 minutes per game, putting up 7 and 4, while Iman Shumpert will play just his fourth game back from injury. J.R. Smith is sporting a .483 TS%. I don’t miss any of them.
The Knicks, who fell 90-84 to the Cavs in NY six weeks ago as LeBron scored 31, have scored 87 or fewer points in each of their last four games against Cleveland. For a team that is offensively challenged to begin with, easy buckets will be hard to find.
As 12-point underdogs, tonight’s recipe for success is keeping the game close through maximum effort on defense and quality shot-making on offense before some good bounces in the 4th lead to a surprise road win. Go Knicks!