The Point Four-ward: Garden Party

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at New York Knicks

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) The Cavs and J.R. Smith may have dodged a bullet on this one.

After a scary moment that saw Smith’s knee buckle as he landed after a routine shot attempt against the Raptors on Monday, the severity of the injury was still unclear. An X-ray taken in Toronto came back negative, but Smith was reported to still be limping after the game and understandably concerned about the knee that had been hurting him for several weeks.

Smith returned to Cleveland for an MRI on the knee and, last night, he and the Cavs got some good news.

 

So, all of the hand-wringing about who will replace Smith in the lineup can continue, but we can all take heart in knowing that we should be doing this wringing on a mercifully limited basis.

This morning, cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon is reporting that head coach Tyronn Lue has named DeAndre Liggins the starting shooting guard for tonight’s game against the Knicks in New York City. Liggins scored five points against the Raptors, including a big three pointer near the end of the game. The former D-League Defensive Player of the Year should help the Cavs shore up their defensive issues. He is far less of a threat to score than Smith, though, so it will be worth watching whether the floor remains spaced well enough, or if LeBron James and Kryie Irving will find fewer open spaces to attack off the dribble.

2.) The Cavs find tonight’s opponent riding high. The Knicks have won a season-best four games in a row and are the proud owners of the fifth best record in the Eastern Conference at 12-9. This will be the second meeting between the two clubs, after the Cavs blew the doors off the Knicks 117-88 on Ring Night at The Q. At that point, it looked like the Knicks were tipping off yet another atrocious season, but the Knicks leveled out and are playing… well, respectably average basketball.

On the season, the Knicks rank 15th in the league in scoring, while their defense ranks 22nd. Their lone top-10 ranking is in rebounding, where they rank sixth best in the league. Even their winning streak is middling. Two of those wins came on a home-and-home against the six win Minnesota Timberwolves, the third came when they hosted the Sacramento Kings, and last night they beat the Miami Heat. Each of those teams ranks among the league’s worst.

Still, Jeff Hornacek‘s club comes into Wednesday’s nationally televised game winners of nine of their last 12. They have two 20 point-per-game scorers in Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis and another, point guard Derrick Rose, who is averaging 22 points and 5.5 assists over his last two games. So, the Cavs, who are still far from perfect on defense, despite playing better on that end of the floor against the Raptors, will need to continue tightening the screws on that end if they want to prevent a let-down at the Garden.

3.) Watching Lue work with his bench has been like watching a man try to squeeze blood from a stone. Outside of Channing Frye and Shumpert, the production just hasn’t been there. Tonight’s game against the Knicks could serve as a way to help jumpstart that second unit, particularly Mike Dunleavy Jr., who will be playing his second game back from undergoing the league’s concussion protocol.

As underwhelming at the Cavs bench has been, the Knicks’ bench hasn’t been much better. According to hoopstat.com, the Cavs’ reserves rank 28th in the league in points scored at 27.9 PPG, while the Knicks rank 24th at 30.1 PPG. With shooting guard Courtney Lee likely back in the starting lineup following an ankle injury, that means the Cavs will be looking at a second unit that relies heavily on guards Justin Holiday and Brandon Jennings and big men Lance Thomas  and Kyle O’Quinn. Not the most intimidating line-up — and not one that’s known for its defense. So, a vet like Dunleavy, who could really benefit from a strong performance in the Garden, might see this matchup as an opportunity to get himself going.

The first game these two teams played this year was one of Dunleavy’s better ones. He finished with just four points, but a season-best +19.

4.) The key for the Knicks’ reserves has been Jennings. He followed up a 12-point outing against the T-Wolves with a two point game, then rebounded to score 19 against the Kings, so he runs hot and cold. Look for Shumpert to spend a lot of time keeping track of Jennings. But it could also be an opportunity for Ty Lue to throw Kay Felder out there and see if his speed can disrupt the most explosive of the Knicks reserves.

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Cols714
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Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

Thompson’s 60 point night has to be the most boring 60 points ever scored in an NBA game. The Frauds couldn’t even do that correctly.

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
1 year 11 months ago

Some commentator was pointing out that the other team appeared to have a “make KT beat us”, and aimed the D at Curry and Durant. That appears to be a lousy idea. I was drinking a cold one late last night at a bar with the TV on a sports show with the sound off. They were running through all the shots leading to 60 points. Most of them appeared to uncontested jump shots and open layups.

warriorsfan
Guest
warriorsfan
1 year 11 months ago

yes, he was getting lot of catch and shoot opportunities by moving without the ball like the way Rip Hamilton used to. Also, he has been guarded by much smaller player in Monta, so he was pretty much open all the time. And he is the one of best catch and shoot shooter in the league and leads league in scoring from catch and shoot at 11.1 ppg.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

A new button just for Cols…

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
1 year 11 months ago

I kept pressing that button until I got bored!

warriorsfan
Guest
warriorsfan
1 year 11 months ago

lol. Klay’s 60 pts though if you have not watched, worth a watch. I mean 11 dribbles for 60 pts is plain unimaginable.

John B
Guest
John B
1 year 11 months ago

No it’s pretty imaginable for that team. Nothing is surprising considering Durant is there now. It is an all star team, so it would only be unimaginable if they didn’t win, at the absolute minimum, the next 3 titles. If they don’t, I would say that is a failure, considering the talent and the fact everyone is locked up for the foreseeable future. The only thing that can stop them is injuries. Everything else is just a formality, so you can stop talking them up on a cavs blog. Here is to you, our favorite passive aggressive troll.

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

GLAD TO HEAR THE NEWS ABOUT SWISH ( ERROR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION–DON’T BRING HIM BACK TOO SOON –EVEN IF IT MIGHT COST A WIN OR 2 )—WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE KSHRIMP MORE PLAYING TIME EXPERIENCE AND A DUNLEAVY ( BULLS TYPE ) OF AN EXPERIENCE — -WHOA COLS — SLOW DOWN ON LIGGINS –GIVE THE DUDE A CHANCE / REALIZE HE WILL NEVER BE AN OFFENSIVE STALWART BUT IF HE CAN PLAY ( GIVE VALUABLE MINUTES LIKE THE OTHER NIGHT ) THEN HE CAN BE AN ASSET TO THIS TEAM

Mike Podracky
Guest
Mike Podracky
1 year 11 months ago

For sure one of our other bench players has to step up. If Dunleavy can’t produce better when JR is out, then it definitely is time to stick a fork in him. On an unrelated note, I just saw that Westbrook is average 31/11/11 with the season almost at the quarter pole. It seems that Russ can never just play in chill mode. Will he burn out or keep up this insane production? And Westbrook is even averaging a minute less on the court that LBJ. It’s really harder to believe that OKC couldn’t get over the hump with their prior lineup.

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
1 year 11 months ago

Russ for MVP.

Durant for P***y of the Year.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Good stuff Robert! On a related note… it must be a drag for JR to have to miss a trip back to NYC… although maybe that’s ultimately a good thing that he’s not going…

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

The only difference between Wiggins and Liggins is swapping a W for an L… wait…

daspec90
Guest
daspec90
1 year 11 months ago

I see what you did there.

daspec90
Guest
daspec90
1 year 11 months ago

Darn it, shoulda said “you lost me on that'”

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

I found an old Reddit thread that unearthed a funny nickname for DeAndre Liggins…

[–][OKC] Steven Adamsbrob 1 point 3 years ago
They forgot to mention The Mindfreak (DeAndre Liggins).
Whenever the camera zoomed in on Liggins during a game, you were more than likely to see some jawing and a frustrated look on the face of his opponent. Kentucky fans eventually created a nickname for Liggins in relation to his craft—“The Mindfreak.” Just ask Scotty Hopson what it feels like to get “mindfreaked” by DeAndre Liggins.
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Thoughts on “Mindfreak”?

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

And some people used to call him “Ligsanity” back in his OKC days…

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
1 year 11 months ago

Hoping for the Kay Felder experience

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
1 year 11 months ago

I don’t like shrimp, which means I’m not a fan of this nickname as it conjures images of disgusting poop-veined sea-life.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

I’m sorry if it bothers you… but that won’t deter me from using it ;)

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

Get better soon JR!!!!! Liggins is going to be a horrible starting SG.

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
1 year 11 months ago

I wouldn’t be surprised if Liggins starts all year. You don’t need much shooting with the LBJ+KI+KL+TT on the floor, but a total pest on D can help plenty. Then IS+JRS can do a decent job without a real PG, and the second unit will score some points.

cz1023
Guest
cz1023
1 year 11 months ago

Don’t be so quick to say someone’s going to be a horrible starter until he’s actually finished his first game as a starter

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

Liggins is the one guy who can make me wish we had Delly. At least Delly knew he was awful on offense and needed to either pass or shoot a wide open corner three.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

If you drink enough… he kind of sounds like “Wiggins”…

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