We’ve known about this Playoff series for a couple of weeks now, with the seeding of these two teams already locked in and plenty of time for coaches to prepare for the series. That’s why we expect one of the most hard-fought and evenly matched playoff series, between two teams, Cleveland Cavs and New York Knicks, who have managed to turn their early-season promise into something more.
In the regular season, the boys of coach Thibodeau lead 3-1, with scores also quite clear, thanks especially to the excellent defensive performance of the New York franchise. The key player in these games has been RJ Barrett, who has shown that he is not particularly bothered by the Cavs’ area marking.
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Needless to say, with Julius Randle still out for a while, he and Jalen Brunson will have to take center stage, along with the upcoming sixth man of the year, Immanuel Quickley.
On the Cleveland side, the names are the usual two: with Evan Mobley likely playing a predominantly defensive role, the attack will come through the talented hands of the guard duo, Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell.
While the number 10 has never played in the playoffs and needs to be tested, “The Spida” is and will be a certainty in the series; more than 29 points per game in the postseason for him, in addition to particular personal motivations: for the boy, originally from New York, wearing the Knicks jersey would have been a dream, but the management deemed the demands of the Utah Jazz excessive during the last offseason, abandoning the path that led to Mitchell and focusing, with equal success, on Jalen Brunson.
Now, the two young guards will be the main faces of this series: the last meeting between the two saw Mitchell score 42 points and Brunson an even career-high 48, which earned him the victory.
The series between Cavs and Knicks will be long and challenging: the chances of a game 7 are very much there, but in any case, the games will be tense, defensive and very evenly matched.
If we had to lean one way or the other, our preference would be for Cleveland to advance, also considering the home-court advantage in games 1 and 2 and in a potential seventh game.
In any case, let’s get comfortable, because these two teams will know how to battle until the last second.
NBA Playoff 2023 Preview
- Milwaukee Bucks Vs Chicago Bulls/Miami Heat (TBD)
- Cleveland Cavaliers Vs New York Knicks
- Philadelphia 76ers Vs Brooklyn Nets
- Boston Celtics Vs Atlanta Hawks
- Denver Nuggets Vs Oklahoma City Thunder/Minnesota Timberwolves (TBD)
- Phoenix Suns Vs Los Angeles Clippers (TBD)
- Sacramento Kings Vs Golden State Warriors
- Memphis Grizzlies Vs Los Angeles Lakers (TBD)