Knicks vs. Cavaliers prediction and odds for Game 5 (Defense reigns supreme)

Apr 23, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) looks to drive past New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) during game four of the 2023 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) looks to drive past New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) during game four of the 2023 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /
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Can the New York Knicks close out the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games?

Knicks fans would certainly love it, but the team is set as a 5.5-point underdog in Game 5 in Cleveland.

New York dominated at Madison Square Garden in Game 3 and 4, but the team did struggle in Game 2 in Cleveland, losing by 17 points.

The Cavs’ backs are against the wall in this series, but the team needs more from Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, who traded awful showings in Games 3 and 4.

With a win, the Knicks would advance to play the winner of the Miami Heat-Milwaukee Bucks series, which has shockingly seen Miami go up 3-1.

Here’s a look at the odds and my best bet for the Knicks-Cavs Game 5 showdown:

Knicks vs. Cavaliers odds, spread and total

Knicks vs. Cavaliers prediction and pick

There hasn’t been a more physical or defensive-centric series in the first round of the playoffs than Knicks-Cavs, especially because the Brooklyn Nets-Philadelphia 76ers series was low-scoring mainly due to Brooklyn’s ineptitude on offense.

For the fifth straight game, I am shocked the first half total is where it is. I bet this play in Game 4, and it cashed fairly easily.

If you look at the total for this game (202.5), the first half being set at 103.5 seems a little high. Over the first four games of the series, these teams have combined for 95, 98, 77 and 99 first half points.

They’ve yet to crack triple digits!

It’s not surprising when you consider these teams are playing at the second slowest pace in the postseason (93.0), and Cleveland finished the season with the No. 1 defense in the NBA.

The Knicks don’t want to get in a track meet, especially with how well Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett played in the half court over the last two games.

New York is also 15th of 16 teams in effective field goal percentage this postseason while the Cavs clock in at 13th. An increase in offense just doesn’t seem in the cards.

I expect this to continue to be a physical series that is won on the defensive end, so let’s ride the first half under trend in Game 5.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.