The New York Knicks tried to break a streak of four losses to the low-injury Cleveland Cavaliers.
Okay, the New York Knicks lost four games.
Okay, RJ Barrett’s shooting problems are still a problem.
Well, maybe it would be better to watch WandaVision and order a big meat lover cake to make better use of a Friday night.
Except Friday’s propensity for the Cleveland Cavaliers had all it takes for a cupcake game. Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, and Kevin Love were all injured. A stricken Andre Drummond should play, but likely without the newly acquired Jarrett Allen.
The stage was ready. Could the New York Knicks take advantage of a much-needed tuning game? Would RJ Barrett leave and Julius Randle continue his breakout season?
But most importantly, would the Knicks finally be back in the profit column?
Ladies and gentlemen, present the ESNY Gif All-Stars!
1st quarter: Boost the energy
All in all, this wasn’t a terrible neighborhood for the New York Knicks. They shot 50% off the field, 43.8% from three, and only followed Cleveland 28-25 to one.
However, Cleveland has completely exceeded the Knicks when it comes to energy. Understaffed as they were, they had a lot more bounce in their stride and played with a sense of urgency. Both teams have the same record 5-7, but Cleveland played like losing was not an option.
Mitchell Robinson also struggled to defend Andre Drummond, who had nine points and eight rebounds in the quarter. Hopefully Trainer Tom Thibodeau had some old 80s exercise tapes to play between quarters because New York couldn’t sluggishly play the rest of the way.
Mid-term report: official trick
In the first half, the New York Knicks shot 53.8% from the bottom and 46.2% from three. The entire energy of the team changed in the second quarter when New York caught up with Cleveland.
Yet the Cavaliers led 57-55 at halftime. How do you ask Well, either through outright cunning or some sort of trick, Cleveland attempted 22 free throws compared to just seven for New York. Andre Drummond was a loose cannon, with 20 points and 14 rebounds in the half.
The good news is that despite the lack of calls, the New York Knicks were far from out of the game. With a focused second half, breaking the series was within reach.
But would the officers work together?
3rd quarter: slow start, strong end
For half of the third quarter, the New York Knicks played from behind. Cedi Osman lit them on the third for ten points, including two threes. New York also struggled to balance Cleveland’s pace and communication.
However, the slow start to the second half was soon a distant memory. The Knicks ended the third with a 12-0 run and went into the fourth with an 80-80 tie. Nerlens Noel played from his head on the defensive, and Immanuel Quickley was another spark.
Still, no Knicks fan enjoys a close game in the fourth round. A visit to Orin Scrivello’s office for a root canal would be a better activity, wouldn’t it?
4th quarter: fatal mistakes
Improved performance can be negated by a critical mistake, and that was the case tonight at the New York Knicks. After scoring four quick points to open the quarter, they coughed the lead to Cleveland again.
Still, there was hope when the Knicks were two points behind three minutes before the end of the game. Cue a three from Knick Damyean Dotson, a turnover from RJ Barrett and a foul from Julius Randle before Dotson sank free throws and another layup. Last summer the Cavaliers won 106-103.
Maybe it was Drummond’s 33 points and 23 rebounds. Maybe Cleveland will try 34 free throws against New York’s 16.
Either way, one loss in five games has struck New York, and that loss hurts worse than the others.
Player of the game: Immanuel Quickley
Aside from the bottom line, the rookie did a great job keeping the Knicks in the game. With 23 points and three threes off the bench, we hope the former Kentucky star continues to see longer minutes.