New York Knicks: The 3 most important upcoming games

New York Knicks (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
New York Knicks (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks
RJ Barrett, New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

GAME 2: New York Knicks @ Cleveland Cavaliers 1/24/22 

Opponent Breakdown:

The Cleveland Cavaliers are definitely a leading candidate for most improved/most surprising team in the NBA this season. After losing starter Colin Sexton early on for the season with a torn meniscus, lots of people were ready to write the team off. Instead, we’ve seen large amounts of improvement from Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen who have been leading the Cavs to a lot of their wins.

Both players are averaging over 16 points per game and stuffing the stat sheets. Garland most recently picked up a triple-double in Utah and is an under-the-radar all-star hopeful while Allen is averaging a double-double on the season. It’s also important to mention rookie Evan Mobley, who could very find himself winning the ROTY.

The USC product averages just under 15 points and averages 1.7 blocks along with 9 boards. Cleveland currently sits at 24-18, good for 6th in the East.

Last Meeting:

The Knicks find themselves playing Cleveland for the second time this year after getting embarrassed by the 2016 NBA champions back on November 7th at MSG 126-107. The Knicks kryptonite in that one? Ricky Rubio.

The 11-year NBA vet absolutely torched the Knicks defense shooting 8-9 from behind the arc off the bench scoring a career-best 37 points. The difference, however, is that Rubio tore his ACL recently and will miss the remainder of the season (Hence the trade for Rajon Rondo). Mobley led the starting unit in that game with 26 points on 11-15 shooting.

On the Knicks’ end, RJ Barrett also struggled mightily scoring 6 points while Randle and Derrick Rose lead the way scoring 36 combined. New York was mainly victimized by their 3-point defense as Cleveland shot an astounding 19/35 from behind the arc and scored 70 points in the 2nd half.

Key to Victory:

When it comes to the Cavaliers, it seems like they have a different #1 option every game; Lamar Stevens was the leading scorer against Utah the other night. Sometimes it’s Garland, sometimes it’s Jarrett Allen, and Lauri Markkanen is playing his best basketball as a ‘Cav.’

The Knicks can definitely win this game but it’s going to come down to pure efficiency and not turning the ball over. They won’t be able to rely on one player to carry the scoring and are going to need contributions from all five men on the floor.