The New York Knicks clinched a playoff berth before even taking the floor against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. Thanks to Indiana’s 118-109 victory over Milwaukee on Thursday, the Knicks secured a second straight trip to the postseason following a six-year absence. New York sits seventh in the East and has a one-game lead over Philadelphia. The Knicks are unlikely to move up in the standings as they trail Orlando by three games with four contests remaining.
Knicks Cavaliers Betting
When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, April 20, 2012
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), FSN (Cleveland)
New York Knicks (33-29): Forward Carmelo Anthony is averaging a league-best 32.2 points in April. “He’s playing unbelievable right now,” said Knicks center Tyson Chandler on Wednesday. “He’s playing, if not the best, definitely in the tops right now, as far as individual basketball.” Anthony will now have to find a way to coexist with Amar’e Stoudemire. The forward could return to action Friday after missing the last 13 games because of a bulging disc in his back. New York is 9-4 in Stoudemire’s absence.
Cleveland Cavaliers (20-41): Rookie Kyrie Irving returned to score nine points Wednesday in Cleveland’s 103-87 loss to Philadelphia after missing nine consecutive games with a sprained right shoulder. “It felt good to be back out there,” Irving said after the contest. “I really felt good finally getting my legs back under me. I’d rather be out there on one leg than sitting on the bench.” Irving is currently averaging 18.6 points and 5.6 assists per game. He will join Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and LeBron James as the only No. 1 overall draft picks to average 18 points and five assists if he can maintain those averages over the team’s final five contests.
1. The Knicks are 15-5 under interim coach Mike Woodson.
2. New York looks to win the season series against Cleveland for the first time since 2005-06 (2-1).
3. Cleveland has won nine straight home games versus the Knicks.
PREDICTION: Knicks 99, Cavaliers 91. CLICK HERE for 500 Handicappers Package FOR 5$