Date and Time: Thursday, January 30th, 2014 8:00 PM EST on TNT Game Line: New York -6 Game Total (Over/Under): 196.5 (From BetOnline) Thursday NBA analysis: The Cleveland Cavaliers travel to the Big Apple to take on the New York Knicks for the first game of the Thursday night TNT double-header. The New York Knicks have actually been playing respectable basketball as of late, as they are winners of 3 in a row after losing 5 straight. One of those victories included a franchise record 62 point outburst from Carmelo Anthony. To say the team has been a disappointment this year would be an understatement. Negative newspaper headlines, rumors of head coach Mike Woodson being fired, and J.R. Smith causing problems haven’t helped matters. The Knicks ranks 22nd in the league in scoring averaging 96.6 ppg, and are shooting 43.9% from the field. They aren’t too effective on the glass, averaging 40.6 rebounds per game. They are allowing 99.1 ppg on defense, yet are allowing opponents to shoot 46% from the field, ranking near the bottom of the league. Cleveland comes into Thursday night’s contest losers of 4 out of their last 5 games. The Cavaliers added some offensive firepower in early January, acquiring Luol Deng from Chicago. Deng is averaging 15.6 ppg with the Cavs, a little below his 19.3 ppg average with Chicago. They are led by All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who is really coming into his own this season, averaging 21.5 ppg this season. The Cavaliers are 24th in the league in scoring, averaging 96.1 ppg, and rebound the ball well, ranking 11th in the league with an average of 44.4 rpg. Defensively, they are allowing 101.3 ppg, and limiting opponents to 45.3% shooting from the field. So we have two teams meeting on Thursday night that are going in opposite directions. The Cavaliers just finished a 1-4 home stand with some pretty sloppy play, and definitely not playing to their potential. The Knicks have won 3 in a row, beating the Lakers on Sunday on national TV, and getting some revenge on Tuesday night, blowing out the Celtics 114-88. Seems like a no-brainer right? Not so fast…After the Cavs poor home stand, the Cavs’ GM called out the team, calling their recent performance unacceptable. I’m sure they’ve read the press clippings too, and a road game away from the angry Cleveland media might just be what the doctor ordered. The Knicks might be feeling a little full of themselves. They beat the Lakers, beat the Celtics (who is somewhat of a rival), and the game after Thursday night? Yep, the world champion Miami Heat visit Madison Square Garden. I also look at the fact that the Cavs will be playing on national TV, which doesn’t happen too often. The Knicks? Yeah, they’re probably on national TV a little too much, considering their record and all. I’m going to back the underdog Cavaliers on Thursday night. I’m expecting the Cavs to put forth a focused effort and try to get back in the win column; while facing a team that will without a doubt be looking ahead to the visit from LeBron and company. Cleveland at New York Free NBA Pick: Cleveland +6, Over 196.5 Cleveland at New York NBA Game Prediction: Cleveland 104 New York 100


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