The Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the New York Knicks was predicted to be the most interesting and competitive first-round series in the Eastern Conference, and so far that has been the case. After the Knicks eeked out a Game 1 win, the Cavs responded with a convincing performance in Game 2 to even the series.
Now, the action will shift to Madison Square Garden for a pivotal Game 3. Here's everything you need to know:
(4) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (5) New York Knicks
- Date: Friday, April 21 | Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Madison Square Garden -- New York, New York
- TV channel: ABC
- Odds: Knicks -1.5; O/U 211.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Cavaliers: During the regular season, Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland largely shared the offensive burden; the former did more scoring and the latter did more playmaking, but it was, for the most part, a two-pronged attack. That was not the case in Game 1, when Garland acted as a spectator to the Mitchell show and didn't take a single shot in the fourth quarter. In Game 2, they got back to their roots. Garland actually did more scoring (32 points) and Mitchell did more playmaking (13 assists), but they worked in tandem and the result was a comfortable win. The Cavs will need more of that in Game 3 to steal back homecourt advantage.
Knicks: Jalen Brunson has been such a steady presence for the Knicks all season long, but he did not at his best in Game 2, particularly as a scorer: 20 points on 5-of-17 from the field. While Brunson will find other ways to impact the game, the Knicks don't have the offensive talent to make up for his off nights. During the regular season, they were 10-13 when Brunson scored 20 points or fewer and 30-15 when he scored 21 or more. They're going to need a better Brunson outing in Game 3.
This one is a tough call. The Cavaliers were the better team this season, but Madison Square Garden is going to be rocking and you wonder how this young group will deal with their first big road playoff game. In the end, we'll lean towards the team with the best player and a better defense. Pick: Cavaliers +1.5