Last night, about 20 minutes before the anticipated Knicks-Heat game was set to begin on TNT, bad news hit the Twitter waves. Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks leading scorer and best player, would not be playing. His lacerated finger needed the night off, so Melo would join fellow $20 Million-per-year Knick, Amare Stoudemire, in street clothes on the sideline. The reaction was predictable, and reasonable. In short, everybody expected Miami to win in a rout. Barkley didn’t BS fans in the pregame show, trying to hide his laughter as he predicted a lopsided win for the Heat.
Naturally, the Knicks went on the blowout the heavily-favored Heat, combining prolific three-point shooting (18-44) (!!!) with an energy advantage over a talented team that clearly took the win as a given.
This is pertinent to any discussion that previews tonight’s Timberwolves-Cavs game (7:00 CST, FSN North) because the Cavs come in heavy underdogs (8.5 points, according to espn.com) without their best offensive player, Kyrie Irving (injured finger). I was a little slow to get on the Kyrie Bandwagon, but I managed to hop on before it left the station. Call it a homer’s defensiveness about Irving’s fellow rookie, Ricky Rubio. (Who will not being playing tonight, despite morning rumors.) Irving is FILTHY with the rock; the best handler in the game and an absolute NBA version of Kyle Lee Watson. In case you didn’t already know, that’s why @PDWolves will forever refer to him as Kyrie Lee. With no Kyrie Lee, the Cavs should not have a chance tonight. They’re 2-7 without Irving this season.
But one of those wins came at Atlanta, a 10-5 team, and as Kevin Garnett would scream (and the Knicks proved last night): “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!” I hope the Wolves don’t take this one for granted. Cleveland is pretty bad WITH Kyrie Irving. Without him (and without rookie Dion Waiters, featured in the above clip) Cleveland is downright terrible. Need to take care of biz before the schedule stiffens.