New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds (4/18/23)

The New York Knicks (1-0) hope to carry their momentum into Game 2 against the Cleveland Cavaliers (0-1). New York prevailed 101-07 in Game 1 behind a 27-point performance from Jalen Brunson. Unfortunately, trade deadline acquisition Josh Hart is doubtful after injuring his ankle.

Check out below for Knicks vs. Cavaliers predictions, odds, trends, and starting lineups.

New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Prediction

Prediction: Cavaliers Win Margin 1-10 Points (+170 FD)

The Knicks eked out a win in Game 1 due to a few factors. Jalen Brunson penetrated Cleveland’s perimeter defense and hit tough shot after tough shot. Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson controlled the glass – New York finished with 17 offensive rebounds. Darius Garland was extremely passive, while Evan Mobley missed plenty of easy looks. In addition, the Knicks scored 16 more points off of turnovers despite having only one less turnover. To put it simply, New York punched Cleveland in the mouth and won the opening battle. However, the Cavaliers should narrowly take Game 2 and tie the series.

Firstly, Josh Hart is doubtful for the Knicks. He provided 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 assists on 8/11 shooting. Outside of Brunson and Randle, he’s the only player that consistently scores efficiently. When RJ Barrett was struggling mightily, it was Hart who stepped up and filled the third scorer role. Hart’s stingy on-ball defense, connective passing, and rebounding also provide immense value to New York’s lineup, so his absence will affect all phases of the game for the Knicks.

The three-point difference is also key here. During the regular season, New York allowed the 4th most open and wide open 3PA per 100 possessions, the 6th most corner 3PA, and ranked 24th defending off the dribble threes in terms of opponent shot quality (per ShotQuality). On the other hand, the Cavaliers allowed the fewest open and wide open 3PA per 100 possessions. For a Knicks team that takes the 8th most 3PA per 100 possessions, that’s concerning, especially with Hart (2.1 3PA, 51.9 3PT%) likely out. Look for Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell to rain down threes all game.

Rust affected Julius Randle in Game 1, but Evan Mobley is also a transcendent defender with the length to bother his shots. Randle was bullying Mobley on rebounds, but Randle will find it difficult to get shots off outside the restricted area. And if Randle struggles, then New York’s offense holds a grim outlook.

For the Knicks to win, it’s borderline essential that RJ Barrett has a sizable offensive performance in terms of scoring output, efficiency, and playmaking. Otherwise, it’s unlikely New York has the firepower to match Cleveland barring a terrible Cavaliers shooting performance. Can the Knicks really rely on Barrett to accomplish these feats? At this point in his career, Barrett remains an offensive mystery box.

Overall, Brunson, Randle, and second chance points will bring the game to crunch time. However, Cleveland has the tools to excel down the stretch and tie this series.

New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Betting Odds

The Cavaliers are a decent favorite here as the spread is -5.5. For New York’s +205 moneyline to hold a positive expected value, they must win here at least 33% of the time. In other words, if this game was simulated 100 times, the Knicks would need to win 33 times for their moneyline to be profitable. The over under sits at a measly 214 total points, which is understandable. They combined for 198 points in Game 1, and the slow pace and effective defenses should limit scoring.

Betting Trends

  • Knicks are 37-15-1 ATS in their last 53 road games
  • Cavaliers are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall
  • Knicks are 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings in Cleveland
  • Knicks are 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings

Key Matchups

Which teams will win the game-determining matchups?

Cavaliers Rebounding

Despite fielding two seven-footers, Cleveland is 20th in opponent offensive rebound percentage. New York, meanwhile, is 2nd in offensive rebound percentage. Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle combined for 7 offensive rebounds in Game 1, and Josh Hart added 5 by himself. The Cavaliers need to hold their own on defensive rebounds and not allow New York a flood of second chance opportunities. If they accomplish this, then Cleveland is in great shape to win Game 2.

Immanuel Quickley Scoring

Quickley – a 6MOY contender- finished Game 1 with 3 points on 0/5 shooting. The Knicks need far more from him because the roster lacks self-shot creators at guard, which is a death sentence against this disruptive Cleveland defense. If Quickley can chip in 15+ points, then New York’s offense has a solid chance to keep pace with Cleveland.

New York Knicks Starting Lineup

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

Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineups

PG: Darius Garland
SG: Donovan Mitchell
SF: Isaac Okoro
PF: Evan Mobley
C: Jarrett Allen

Key Injuries

New York Knicks Injuries: Josh Hart (D), Isaiah Roby (O)

Cleveland Cavaliers Injuries: Dylan Windler (O)

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2021-22 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs about analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions and NBA Analysis Network.

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