Two Top Scorers Clash Tonight at the Mecca
1. The Knicks not only bounced back from the defeat to the Magic last Wednesday but they also quickly reversed their play in the first quarter of Saturday’s matchup against Sacramento. After falling down 13-2 early in the contest, New York outscored the Kings 30-10 and built a 15-point lead at the half. Kristaps Porzingis returned to the lineup and picked up right where he left off by scoring 24 of his game-high 34 points in the first half of action. By securing the 118-91 victory, the Knicks improved to 7-5 on the season and 6-2 at Madison Square Garden.
2. Courtney Lee enjoyed a prolific performance on Saturday night. In the first half, Lee drilled 4-of-5 shots from downtown and scored 15 points in 19 minutes. He finished with 20 in the blowout win and continues to be an important piece in New York’s recent surge over its last 10 games. The shooting guard ranks No. 20 in the NBA in 3-point percentage (46.5%) and he’s doing work on the defensive side of the floor as well by averaging 1.4 steals per game this year.
3. On Sunday afternoon, the Knicks officially activated Joakim Noah and he’s now available to play tonight after serving a 12-game suspension. To make room for Noah on the roster, New York released Mindaugas Kuzminskas. General manager, Scott Perry lauded Kuzminskas on and off the floor, “The respect this franchise has for Mindaugas cannot be overstated. His professionalism and work ethic were greatly appreciated by his teammates, coaches, and the entire staff.”
4. On October 29, New York traveled to Cleveland for a road matchup against the defending Eastern Conference champs. Behind 34 points from Tim Hardaway Jr. and 32 from Porzingis, the Knicks upended the Cavaliers 114-95 in the first road win of the season. New York jumped out to a 29-19 lead after the first quarter and never looked back in one of its most impressive victories this year. The Knicks defense was stifling as they limited Cleveland to just 38 percent shooting and held LeBron James to 16 points.
5. The Cavaliers are part of the daily discussion in the NBA but not for the reason most expected heading into the 2017-18 season. National pundits predicted Cleveland would battle Boston for another appearance in the NBA Finals. However, the Cavaliers are off to a rocky start with a 6-7 overall record and just 3-3 on the road. Cleveland managed to capture a 111-104 win over Dallas on Saturday night as part of a current four-game road trip. Derrick Rose, Tristan Thompson, and Isaiah Thomas are all out for the Cavaliers in tonight’s contest. Head coach Tyronn Lue has placed former Knicks, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith in the backcourt while bringing Dwyane Wade off the bench. Kevin Love remains Cleveland’s starting center. Despite their record, the Cavaliers are a dangerous offensive team, ranking No. 3 in the league in offensive rating and fourth in field goal percentage.