Post mortem: Cavs 124, Knicks 93
Mike Brown has made two great coaching moves - both of which involved second-year man J.J. Hickson. Back in November he decided to start Hickson at the four spot, a move that allowed him to keep bringing Anderson Varejao off the bench for boosts.
Tonight he did the same thing. Starting Hickson in Varejao's place giving the Cavs a faster more athletic look. In the irony of ironies, both moves came against the Knicks. The move gave the Cavs a boost offensively as scored 124 points,but more importantly, they continued to play defense, holding the Knicks to just 41 percent shooting.
LeBron James said it best: the faster lineup made it easier to help one another out on defense as they were able to defend the pick-and-roll more efficiently.
They outscored the Knicks in the paint 66-32 and burned them on the fast break 22-9.
Game: Cavs vs. New York Knicks
Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Cavs: LeBron James (F); Antawn (F); J.J. Hickson (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Knicks: Danilo Gallinari (F); Al Harrington (F); David Lee (C); Tracy McGrady (G); Stergion Rodriguez.
Injured and inactive:
Cavs: Shaquille O'Neal (hand surgery); Sebastian Telfair (groin) - OUT
Knicks: Wilson Chandler (personal reasons) - NWT; Eddy Curry (left knee surgery); J.R. Giddens (left knee surgery) - OUT. Tracy McGrady (sore left knee) - PROBABLE.
Officials: Bob Delaney, Tony Brown and Rodney Mott
Shaq's out and that leaves the Cavs to play faster and more athletic. Against the Knicks that should be very doable because much like the Cavs right now, they don't have a true center in David Lee (20.4 points, 11.5 rebounds). Anderson Varejao stands taller and has the defensive skills to keep Lee from getting ridiculous.
The Cavs will look to take advantage of that speed and athleticism as J.J. Hickson and Leon Powe will get extended playing time.
The Knicks made a blockbuster trade to clear cap...ummm I mean get Tracy McGrady and although he started off for New York playing well, in the past few games that hasn't been the case. He left Saturday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies after the first half because his left knee was bothering him. He didn't return - never a good sign. While all signs point to his playing tonight, you have to wonder just how effective he will be or if he will play at all.