New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Preview (3/31/23): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

In a potential First Round preview, the New York Knicks (44-33) travel to face the Cleveland Cavaliers (48-29). Julius Randle is out for New York, while Isaac Okoro and Danny Green are out for Cleveland. In addition, Jarrett Allen is doubtful here.

Which team will pick up a statement win? Odds, predictions, key matchups, and starting lineups are below.

New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Betting Odds

Cleveland is a three-point favorite, and they own a -165 moneyline. For New York’s +145 moneyline to hold a positive expected value, they must win at least 41% of the time. The 221 over under is the lowest total of the day, which is significant because the slate features 11 games.

The Knicks are 6th ATS this season, but Randle has played in every single game until tonight. Cleveland is 8th ATS and 19-6-1 in their last 26 home games versus a team with a winning road record.

New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Prediction

Prediction: Knicks +0.5 1st Quarter (-108 FD)

With three key pieces out (Randle, Allen, Okoro), the outcomes of this matchup across an entire game are more volatile than usual. Therefore, I’m targeting the 1st Quarter where the new-look rotations won’t have as profound of an effect since it will mostly be starters versus starters – more familiar territory.

For players with at least 40 games, Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett rank 4th and 28th respectively in drives per game. They constantly force defenses to collapse inside, which allows them to kick it out and swing for an open three. It’s no surprise that New York is 3rd in corner 3PA. Without Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley won’t be able to roam because Robinson’s lob threat anchors him to the basket. It also means Mobley can’t step up to cut off the incoming driver because Robinson will be waiting for the pass.

Three-point shooting has a huge impact on first quarter scoring. The Knicks are 6th in first quarter open plus wide open 3PA, while the Cavaliers sit at 23rd. Both squads shoot at a 38% clip during this quarter too, so Cleveland cannot close the gap through efficiency.

Cleveland loves to attack the basket, but they won’t find as much success as usual with Robinson on the court. His minutes will be huge for New York’s defense; he only plays 27 MPG, so that’s another reason to target the first quarter.

Overall, New York’s starting lineup likely owns a better defense and superior offensive shot quality here.

Betting Trends

  • Knicks are 13-6-1 ATS in their last 20 games overall
  • Under is 5-2 in Knicks last 7 road games
  • Cavaliers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall
  • Cavaliers are 19-6-1 ATS in their last 26 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
  • Over is 8-3 in Cavaliers last 11 overall

Key Matchups

Which team will win the key matchups? Check out below for these vital battles.

Knicks 3PT Shooting

They may generate more open threes, but it means nothing if they don’t convert. Outside of Robinson, the Knicks will trot out two excellent shooters, one good shooter, and a capable one. They have the personnel to punish the Cavaliers, and New York can win the first quarter if they perform to their usual three-point standards.

Caris LeVert

LeVert is a mixed bag when he steps on the court. He can either look invisible or impose his will through a barrage of tough points. His matchup won’t be easy too as Barrett is a solid defender. If the Cavaliers are going to win the first quarter, then LeVert’s scoring is on the verge of being essential.

New York Knicks Starting Lineup

PG: Jalen Brunson
SG: Quentin Grimes
SF: RJ Barrett
PF: Josh Hart
C: Mitchell Robinson

Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup

PG: Darius Garland
SG: Donovan Mitchell
SF: Caris LeVert
PF: Lamar Stevens
C: Evan Mobley

Key Injuries

New York Knicks Injuries: Julius Randle (O), Derrick Rose (Q), Duane Washington Jr (O), DaQuan Jeffries (O)

Cleveland Cavaliers Injuries: Jarrett Allen (D), Isaac Okoro (O), Danny Green (O), Dean Wade (P), Raul Neto (Q)

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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