Knicks taking on shorthanded Cavs in playoff rematch

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at New York Knicks

The New York Knicks (1-3) will take on a Cleveland Cavaliers team (1-3) without two of their starters in the first of back-to-back games against the team tonight.

Knicks: Garland, Allen Out, Mitchell Questionable to Play

According to Fan Nation’s Spencer Davies, starters Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen will be sidelined, while All-Star Donovan Mitchell is questionable to play.

Garland suffered a hamstring strain in the Cavaliers’ season opener against the Brooklyn Nets. Garland put up 15 points and five assists in the affair. His status for the second half of the Knicks-Cavaliers two-game set is up in the air.

While injuries are never wished upon any player, the Knicks will catch a break as Garland is coming off of two exceptional seasons, averaging just over 21.6 points, 8.2 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

The Knicks also won’t have to worry about Allen causing disruptions at the rim. The former 2022 All-Star has been kept out of Cleveland’s first three games with an ankle injury. He was able to participate in practice on Monday but will miss tonight’s action.

Allen has sent back 1.3 shots per game for his career. His averages in the blocks department don’t speak to his domination in the interior and his ability to deny dunk attempts and bother slashers with disciplined contests.

The Knicks may also have a breather from Mitchell’s torrid scoring. Mitchell has been hot through two games, putting up 35 points per night to the tune of a 54.2%/38.1%/83.3% shooting line.

How the Knicks Stack Up Against The Cavaliers in Their Playoff Rematch

New York won last year’s regular season series 3-1 over Cleveland. The Knicks rubbed salt in the wound by sending the Cavaliers packing with a 4-1 2023 Eastern Conference first-round series victory.

Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson have struggled to shoot the ball thus far and will have easier access to the rim to convert high-percentage shots tonight.

Quentin Grimes may also get a break on the defensive end, as he’s been asked to guard the best wing players on opposing teams.

Collectively, the Cavaliers are allowing teams to shoot 40.7 percent from deep, giving the Knicks a great opportunity to continue their hot shooting from outside.

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