Sweet, sweet release is near.
The New York Knicks (28–53) are in Cleveland tonight for a matchup with the Cavaliers (50–31) in the 82nd and final game of the regular season.
While this will be an ultimately meaningless game for New York other than possibly moving up or down a spot in the draft lottery, LeBron James and the Cavs will be playing with playoff seeding on the line. Cleveland is currently a game out of the Sixers’ third seed, and a victory over the Knicks could change their fortune.
Coming off the first matchup of this home-and-home series in which the Cavaliers won with relative ease, Cleveland is heavily favored to win tonight’s game against the depleted Knickerbockers.
While this game won’t matter too much for New York, it could shift the team’s spot in the draft lottery. The Knicks and Nets (whose pick is owned by Cleveland) are currently tied for the eighth-worst record in the league, and a New York win combined with a Brooklyn loss would give the Nets sole control of eighth, while the opposite would give the Knicks control. In what is probably the most likely outcome, both the Knicks and Nets losing would keep the lottery standings the same.
Player to Watch: Frank Ntilikina
Following one of his most exciting games this season, Ntilikina will look to continue the aggressiveness he showed on both ends last time out.
In a fun performance to watch, Frank put up 17 points on 8-of-16 shooting along with six rebounds and five assists. While the jump shot wasn’t really falling, he drove to the hoop much more than usual, showing confidence in his layups and floaters.
French Prince first-quarter highlight reel via MSG Broadcast pic.twitter.com/CNAGUJwRAv
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) April 10, 2018
On the other end, Frank showed off his exceptional defensive skills once again, using his length and quickness to poke the ball out of the ball handler’s hands. He was constantly tipping passes and playing the part of a pest to the Cavs’ offense. Maybe going up against LeBron brought out the aggressiveness in his game, or maybe he’s just getting more comfortable with his skill set. Either way, Ntilikina had a great outing on Monday against the Cavs, and it’d be nice to see him follow it up with a similar performance to close out the season on a high note.
Tip-off time for tonight’s game is set for 8 p.m. EST.