The New York Knicks are reportedly still pursuing a possible trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers that would send Carmelo Anthony away in exchange for Kevin Love. The Cavaliers, who have so far been unwilling to entertain the offer, will try to prove they are better off with Love when they visit the Knicks on Saturday.
Cleveland didn’t need Love or Anthony on Wednesday, when it leaned on 14 points and a career-high 14 assists from Kyrie Irving in a 125-97 thrashing of Minnesota while Love sat out to rest a back injury. “It’s a win,” Irving told reporters. “It’s a win for all of us. … But it really started on the defensive end. But tonight, when guys got it rolling, when guys are making shots, it makes it a lot easier.” The Knicks were making shots at the end of the road trip on Wednesday at Brooklyn but Anthony was not involved as he sat out most of the fourth quarter and let the bench take over in the 95-90 triumph. “I was just in the moment, going with the flow,” Anthony told reporters. “By the time I looked up – I looked up one time it was like five minutes, ‘Ain’t no way I’m going back in there.’ These guys had it rolling. There wasn’t no need for us to go back in there and break up what they had going on.”
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ABC
LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers opened the Knicks as 6.5-point home underdogs against the visiting Cavaliers. The line has yet to move off of that number. The total meanwhile, has been bet down 2 points from 219.5 to the current number of 217.5. Check out the complete line history here.
Cavaliers – PF Kevin Love (Probable Saturday, back), SG J.R. Smith (Out until late March, thumb).
Knicks – PF Kristaps Porzingis (Probable Satruday, back), PG Derrick Rose, (Doubtful Saturday, ankle), SF Lance Thomas (Out indefinitely, face/head).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Cavaliers (-6.5) – Knicks (+0.2) + home court (-3) = Knicks +3.7
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (33-15, 20-26-2 ATS, 26-22 O/U): Star forward LeBron James has been outspoken about the team’s need to upgrade the roster with “a (expletive) playmaker,” and Anthony would fit the bill, though the team is looking more at free agents and lower-profile targets. James is carrying a heavy load and delivered 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting to go with 12 assists and eight rebounds on Wednesday – his ninth straight game with at least 20 points and the sixth time in that span that he recorded at least a double-double. James and Irving combining for 26 assists Wednesday had a positive effect on newcomer Kyle Korver, who scored 20 points in his best game since joining the team last month.
ABOUT THE KNICKS (22-29, 29-22 ATS, 26-25 O/U): Anthony is one of only three players in the NBA with a full no-trade clause in his contract, and he remains the team leader in scoring (23 points) despite Wednesday’s 15 points on 6-of-22 shooting. Second-year forward Kristaps Porzingis led the way with 19 points and 12 rebounds in the win and would naturally slot into Anthony’s role as the team’s go-to scorer in the event of a trade, though he is not eager for that to happen. “There’s still a lot more things I want to learn from Melo,” Porzingis told the New York Daily News. “So I would love to have him around for a long time. I always love playing with Melo.”
* Cavaliers are 1-7 ATS in their last eight road games.
* Knicks are 1-5 ATS in their last six games follwing a SU win.
* Over is 7-1 in Cavaliers’ last eight games versus Atlantic Division opponents.
* Under is 8-1 in the last eight meetings.
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COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is backing the favorite in this matchup, with 66 percent of bettors on LeBron James and the Cavaliers. When it come to the total, bettors like the Over here, with 52 percent of wagers on it. Check out the complete consensus data here.