Outside, the Knicks play pretty well to start (52% on shots). Problem for Tom Thibodeau and his men: the Cavaliers play as well, if not better. They also convert 52% of their shots in the first quarter, and unlike the Knicks find the net behind the arc: 9 winning shots, including 5 for Donovan Mitchell alone!
There are thus only five points difference after 12 minutes, and the Knicks manage to stabilize this difference thereafter. The second quarter is a highlight for the visitors, who particularly appreciate the good passages of the trio of substitutes Immanuel Quickley – Obi Toppin – Isaiah Hartenstein to stay in the rear view mirror of their opponents. At the same time, the Cavaliers’ outside address has dropped, but their offense remains fluid, like these 18 passes out of 22 baskets.
The Knicks, from laughter to tears
But the real big highlight for the Knicks is the third quarter. Thanks to a more rigorous defense and taking advantage of the vulnerability of the Cavaliers on the counter-attack, the troop of “Thibs” starts off on their feet when they return from the locker room. In 12 minutes, she completely reversed the course of the match by scoring 34 points at 65% on shots (against 22 to 29% for Cleveland), thus taking a 9-point lead to attack the last act!
A last act… during which the Knicks will totally sink.
While they had yet managed to completely calm the Cavaliers during the previous quarter, Julius Randle’s teammates are indeed completely losing ground as the end of the game approaches. It must be said that the locals suddenly raise their level of play in attack, after 12 sluggish minutes after returning from the locker room, and it’s mind-blowing: 37 points at 60% on shots, under the impetus in particular of a lunar Kevin Love, who totally caught fire and planted 5 winning shots to destroy the hopes of the Knicks (121-108)!
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– The Knicks’ emotional lift in the second half. A third quarter at 34 points at 65% on shots, then a fourth quarter at 15 points at 35% on shots. This is how to summarize the second half of the Knicks, passed by both ends on the scale of emotions during the last 24 minutes. A pretty crazy collapse, especially since they held a 9-point lead at the end of the third quarter. The Cavaliers and Kevin Love’s massive late-game heat blast knocked them out completely, as the quality of their offensive execution waned at the worst possible time.
– Kevin Love’s huge hot shot. It was a pretty crazy moment to watch live. Good without being flamboyant during the first three quarters, Kevin Love turned into a human torch in the last act, with a monumental heat stroke: 5 winning shots out of 7 attempts, including a shot scored with the fault! The Knicks, who did not defend particularly well on him, logically did not recover. The Cavaliers veteran finishes at 29 points, 8/13 at 3-pts.
TOPS & FLOPS
✅ donovan michel. The rear of the Cavaliers is in Olympic form at the start of the season, and he has had a very good weekend in particular in recent days: 41 points against Boston on Friday, then 38 points (12/20) and 12 assists in this Sunday against New York. His major feats of arms: first a 15-point first quarter to put his team on the right track at the start, then a twirling last quarter, like his teammate Kevin Love, with several award-winning shots and a huge dunk in traffic to wake up and revive his people. Not far from being a Knick this summer, “Spida” was merciless with the team of his region of origin…
✅ Dean Wade. Good performance for the one who has been the holder for position 3 for three matches: 22 points at 6/8 at 3-pts. Far from the ball, taking advantage of the spaces created by Donovan Mitchell, the former Kansas State silently did very, very badly to the defense of the “Big Apple” club.
✅ Jalen Brunson. The only Knicks player with a positive “plus/minus” at the end of the game, the leader was true to himself: sober but devilishly effective. Intelligent and valuable in his management of rhythm, aggressive towards the circle and valiant in defense, the former Maverick presents a record of stats representative of his high volume of play: 16 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals.
✅ Isaiah Hartenstein. If Jalen Brunson was the satisfaction of the Knicks in the major five, “Hart” is that of the bench. Mobilized more regularly than usual because of Mitchell Robinson’s foul problems, the pivot was useful with 12 points and 9 rebounds on the clock. In a different profile from that of “Mitch”, more technical in attack but less mobile and airy in defense, he thus offered 27 satisfactory minutes.
⛔️ Caris LeVert. Failed exit for the one who was one of the heroes of the Boston game, scoring 41 points. Against the Knicks, he scored… 40 units less: only one small point, collected on the free throw line since he missed the 9 shots he attempted. A real failure, to quickly forget.
– Riders : reception of the Celtics, on the night of Wednesday to Thursday (0h30)
– Knicks : reception of the Hawks, same schedule