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New York is up 2-1 in the series
Jalen Brunson dropped 21 in Game 3
The Cavaliers were held to 79 total points in Game 3
The Cavaliers are desperate for a road win in Game 4 against the Knicks. Cleveland is currently down 2-1 in the series and at the risk of heading home on the brink of elimination. A series in the NBA doesn’t start until a team loses on their home floor. The Knicks were able to best the Cavaliers in Game 1, so this series started very early. That loss could come back to bite Cleveland if they don’t find a way to win at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. Let’s get into the betting breakdown and our best bets for Game 4.
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Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
|Over 206 (-110)
|Under 206 (-110)
The Cleveland Cavaliers were horrendous in Game 3 of the series. The Knicks have controlled the tempo of the matchup by prevailing on the road, which has put them in the driver’s seat. Cleveland was defeated by 20 points in Game 3 in a horrendous offensive performance. The team only scored 79 points. Cleveland is one of the slowest franchises in the NBA when it comes to offensive pace, but they’re typically an efficient scoring team. This wasn’t the case for the majority of the team.
Donovan Mitchell was solid, scoring 22 points on a 9 of 19 performance. However, when the Cavaliers performed well, he has scored over 30 points. The Cavaliers shot under 40% as a team, compared to the Knicks, who were 47% from the field. Playing slow in the NBA is suitable, but this takes away possessions, so efficiency is critical. Cleveland didn’t meet this need in Game 3, and it was reflected in the final score.
The good news for the Cavaliers is that the solution to their Game 3 woes is simple. They need to be better from the field and not turn the ball over consistently. These are the two areas of the stat sheet where it clearly shows why New York won Game 3. If Cleveland can do this, they have a great chance of winning Game 4. However, this is easier said than done, as the Knicks look like they're on a mission.
Jalen Brunson dropped 21 points in the victory, and even RJ Barrett contributed, leading the team in rebounds. We’re still going to lean toward the Knicks in Game 4, as they look like the stronger team in the series.
If the Cavaliers fall behind 3-1 in this series, their season will likely end in Game 5 or 6. It’s very hard to win a series when you aren’t the aggressor, and this describes the Cavaliers. Cleveland doesn’t look like they’re playing with much confidence. Their shot selection in Game 3 was pitiful, and we must credit New York’s defense, but the Cavaliers also had no game plan.
They were holding the ball too long, which was leading to a bad shot selection. Look for the Cavaliers to play a faster style of basketball in Game 4, as they must take the attack to the Knicks. Mitchell has been strong throughout the series, but Cleveland needs more consistency out of Jarett Allen and Darius Garland.
Allen has been ineffective in the paint throughout the series, and Garland was just 4 of 21 from the field in Game 3. Cleveland hasn’t performed well on the road or as underdogs this season, but there is no excuse for this quality of play in Game 3.
The New York Knicks used the home crowd to their advantage in Game 3. It was as close to a perfect game of basketball as a team can get for scoring under 100 points. The Knicks were over 47% from the field, and they forced Cleveland into 21 turnovers. The MVP of the tournament so far has been Jalen Brunson.
Brunson came from Dallas in free agency and has proven why he was one of the best free agents this past offseason. Brunson facilitates offensive success, but he’s also one of the most dangerous scoring point guards in the NBA.
Brunson and company were so dominant that Julius Randle’s poor performance has gone unnoticed. Randle was 3-15 from the field, only scoring 11 points on the night. He was also just 2 of 10 from beyond the arch. New York must get the ball down low to Randle, and if this occurs, they will cruise to a Game 4 win.
The Cavaliers can’t be trusted on the road or as underdogs. They were under .500 on the road in the regular season and 4-14 as underdogs. We expect Cleveland to make this contest much tighter than Game 3, but it won’t be enough to pull off the win at a hostile Madison Square Garden.
Brunson will lead the Knicks to a Game 4 victory, and it will be accompanied by a stronger performance out of Randle. These two working in tandem will be too much for the inconsistent Cavaliers.
PICK: Knicks -2 (-110)
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Game Time & Date: APR. 23 @ 1:00 p.m ET
Streaming: ESPN App
Tanner Kern has been working in the betting industry since 2020. He currently is a social media content creator at DraftKings and contributes to multiple sites in addition to WSN, including Forbes and VSiN. He is also the cohost of the podcast Ride the Line at WSN.More info on Tanner Kern
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