New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: Predictions, Starting Lineups (10/31/23)

The New York Knicks (1-2) face the Cleveland Cavaliers (1-2) this Tuesday (10/31/23). Get Knicks vs. Cavaliers moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchup below.

New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Prediction

The Knicks easily lead the NBA in net offensive rebound percentage due to Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle. The duo are extremely physical around the basket and subsequently control the glass on both ends, which allows New York to steal possessions. The Knicks defeated the Cavaliers 4-1 last postseason in large part because Robinson and Randle manhandled them in the paint. That was with Jarrett Allen playing too, so Cleveland is in dire straits here. Look for New York to absolutely bully Evan Mobley in the paint and rack up put-backs, thus significantly inflating their offensive production.

They will pair this interior hostility with an offense that ranks 4th in pace adjusted open plus wide open three-points attempts per game. Cleveland will have to pick their poison here: either send significant help inside to avoid destruction by put-backs or surrender open threes.

On the other end, New York has the personnel to slow down an ailing Cavaliers squad. Per Basketball Index’s metrics, Quentin Grimes ranked 6th in perimeter isolation defense, 3rd in ball screen navigation, and 3rd in matchup difficulty. He routinely took on tough assignments and thrived as an on-ball stopper last season. Grimes can slow down an injured Donovan Mitchell, who is especially essential to Cleveland’s shot creation with Darius Garland out. Evan Mobley’s lack of outside shooting will also allow Mitchell Robinson to anchor himself in the paint and protect the rim against a Cavaliers offense that ranks 3rd in drives per game.

Finally, New York owns the bench advantage here. They were 4th in bench net rating last season and still have four key pieces: Josh Hart, Immanuel Quickley, Donte DiVincenzo, and Isaiah Hartenstein. The second unit offense will hum against a Cleveland bench that lacks perimeter defenders.

Overall, Cleveland’s injuries and New York’s projected offensive shot quality mean backing the Knicks is the best bet in this matchup.

New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Prediction: Knicks -2.5 & moneyline

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New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Best Odds

The visiting Knicks are a decent 2.5 point favorite with playable moneyline odds. For Cleveland’s +130 moneyline to hold a positive expected value, they must win this game about 43% of the time. Otherwise, the bet is a losing play in the long run.

New York Knicks Starting Lineup

PG: Jalen Brunson
SG: Quentin Grimes
SF: RJ Barrett
PF: Julius Randle
C: Mitchell Robinson

Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup

PG: Donovan Mitchell
SG: Max Strus
SF: Isaac Okoro
PF: Dean Wade
C: Evan Mobley

New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Injuries

Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, Ty Jerome, and Ricky Rubio are out for Cleveland, while Donovan Mitchell is questionable. It’s worth noting that Mitchell practiced on Monday. New York’s injury report is completely clean.

New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Key Matchups

Caris LeVert’s Scoring

LeVert is averaging 19.7 points for the year, although on abysmal 37/37/33 shooting splits. He’s a microwave scorer that can either be red-hot or ice-cold. In order to keep pace with New York’s impressive bench, it’s essential that LeVert scores efficiently and dabbles as a playmaker. Otherwise, Cleveland will struggle mightily to match the prowess of Quickley, DiVincenzo, Hart, and Hartenstein.

Isaac Okoro’s Defense

Per Basketball Index, Okoro was 14th in perimeter isolation defense, 13th in ball screen navigation, and 17th in matchup difficulty. It’s highly likely that Cleveland will send him to pester Jalen Brunson – New York’s offensive engine. If Okoro can force Brunson to frequently dump the ball and lower his shot quality, then Cleveland stands a much better chance of covering.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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