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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Game 21: Knicks at Cavs

Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: The Knicks stumble out of Cleveland having lost 11 of their last 13 games. A lot of experts were dead wrong about the Knicks.

From afar, it's a poorly constructed and flawed roster. They didn't have protection with their bigs in case a player like 7-1 center Tyson Chandler got hurt. Obviously, you're not going to find another player as good as Chandler, a former Defensive Player of the Year. 

But you've got to have bigs. Several of them. Andrea Bargnani is big, but he doesn't play like one. He was pretty awful tonight, as he shot just 5 of 17 from the field en route to 11 points. Point guard Raymond Felton? Ditto.

Cavs coach Mike Brown compared the Knicks to a wounded animal. Maybe a wounded chinchilla. 

The Knicks are missing Chandler (non-displaced fracture of the right fibula) and Kenyon Martin (sore ankle).

Studying their roster, I immediately came to the conclusion the Cavs shouldn't break up their depth in the front court at the trade deadline. They have a major advantage over most teams with bigs like Andrew Bynum, Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson and even Tyler Zeller. If Cavs' little-used center Henry Sims were on the Knicks, he'd get a lot of playing time.

However, before you write off the Knicks, remember they still have offensive firepower, starting with All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony. Only Miami forward LeBron James, Anthony's buddy from the fabulous 2003 draft, is scoring more points in the Eastern Conference. James is averaging 25.4 points per game, compared to Anthony's 25.2. Anthony is also averaging a career-high 9.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists.

Anthony had 29 points and eight rebounds on Tuesday.

Obviously, the Knicks are capable of putting up numbers. However, for the most part, they've been a total flop this year. That's one reason Coach Mike Woodson is on the hot seat. The end is probably near for him if things keep heading the way they've been. 

The Cavs are 7-3 at The Q this season. They have now won four of their last five games.

They've won 11 of their last 13 home games against New York at The Q dating back to 2007.

Bynum, Thompson and Varejao have combined for at least 30 points and 30 rebounds in each of the previous three games. During that stretch, they are averaging 41.3 points and 35.7 rebounds.

Bynum is averaging 18 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in his last four games. He'd like to increase his minutes, but the Cavs are being cautious with him. He was limited to just three points and eight rebounds against the Knicks.

Thompson has been a beast on the boards, averaging 14.8 rebounds in the last four games. Included in that span was a career-high 21 rebounds against Denver on Dec. 4. He's now averaging 10.4 rebounds per game - eighth in the NBA.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Orlando at 7 p.m. Friday at Amway Center.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Carmelo Anthony (6-8, 235)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Metta World Peace (6-7, 260)
C Andrew Bynum (7-0, 294) vs. Andrea Bargnani (7-0, 250)
SG C.J. Miles (6-6, 231) vs. Iman Shumpert (6-5, 220)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Raymond Felton (6-1, 205)
Cavs - G/F Carrick Felix, C Henry Sims
Knicks - G Chris Smith, C Tyson Chandler
Marc Davis, Dick Bavetta, Leon Wood


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