Game Log — February 28, 2019: Cleveland 125 NY 118

An easy win — turned into a not-so-fast loss to Cleveland at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks took a 12-point lead into the 4th quarter, but Cleveland executed and the Knicks didn’t.

Coming in, Cleveland was 14-47 and Knicks were 13-48 — the teams with the 3rd and 2nd worst records in the league. But Knicks had won 3 of 4 and were looking like a team that could do major damage to their draft lottery position with 21 games to go.

But alas — the Knicks took a step backwards in the 4th quarter. He came back in A good loss, although the coach and the players and some fans seemed disappointed afterwards.

The Good News

Knicks continued to look like a good basketball team in the first 3/4 of this game. Allonzo Trier is back being aggressive after a period where it looked like he was purposely looking to pass first on coaches orders. He took it to Cleveland for 22 pts on 8-15 (2-4 from 3).

Comparatively, Cleveland’s point guard — #8 pick in the 2018 draft Collin Sexton, looked good but not as fun to watch as Trier. Sexton had an effective 22 points on 7-15, with 3 assists.

If the 2018 NBA draft were held today, I’d argue that Mitchell Robinson would arguably be the #1 pick in the draft — just ahead of Luca Doncic, Trae Young, and  — and that Allonzo Trier would be picked ahead of Sexton, and might go as high as the #6 pick in the draft. Trier is currently 8th in rookie scoring despite only playing 22 min a night, 4th in 3-pt shooting amongst rookies, 3rd in free throw percentage, and shooting a .455 from the floor — terrific for a shooting guard. His defense is pretty decent and getting better; he’s adept at blocking shots on the break. His passing is getting better.

Mitchell Robinson had another terrific game. When he sat down, the Knicks looked like a different team, for the worse, bumbling and fumbling. Robinson had 12 pts (5-5), 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in 28 min; he fouled out but the last 3 of his fouls were on purpose to stop the clock.

Kevin Knox continues to struggle. He hit his patented floater but was mostly ineffective for 8 pts on 3-12.

Emmanuel Mudiay (10 pts on 4-10) played well — always putting the pressure on the Defense. Noah Vonleh is back playing well again — he had 16 pts on 7-7 with 10 rebounds. New first-man-off-the-bench Henry Ellenson had another good game — 13 pts on 4-10.

Dennis Smith Jr (16 pts on 6-13), Damyean Dotson (9 points (+15) on 4-10), and Lance Thomas (10 pts on 4-10) all played well — again Knicks looked real good until the 4th.  John Jenkins had 2 pts; Frank Ntilikina, DeAndre Jordan, and Mario Hezonja remain out with injuries. Luke Kornet got a DNP.

For Cleveland

Kevin Love started out the game looking lonely; “where has everyone gone” kind of lonely. By the end of the game he looked at hom — 26 pts on 6-12. Cedi Osman — Cleveland’s 6’8 forward in his 2nd year — looked good; he had 21 pts on 7-10, with 7 rebounds and 5 assists in 32 minutes.

Jordan Clarkson always looks good against the Knicks — and he did in this game — 22 pts on 7-13. He looked good last year with LA before getting traded to Cleveland where he looked terrible playing with LeBron. Now he looks like a sharpshooter again. Hmmm… .

Larry Nance Jr had a couple of terrific moves inside but somehow finished with 6 pts on 3-4 shooting. Brandon Knight had 9 pts in 19 minutes. Ante Zizic had 8 pts.

The boxscore:

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