Knicks Crush Cavs — Nov 19, 2019: NY 123 Cleveland 105

It was a wire-to-wire blowout. By the Knicks! Over Cleveland — a team that had blown the Knicks out a week ago on this same Madison Square Garden court. The Knicks played a tight defense — at times suffocating — and moved the ball on offense. A Team win.

Randle at the Point of Attack

At the center of it was power forward Julius Randle, who played his best game of the season — scoring, passing, not turning the ball over, making the Knicks front office look good for signing him for 2 years (3rd year not guaranteed) to be the centerpoint of the Knicks offense as the point forward.

According to former NBA assistant coach Bryan Oringher (@ScoutwithBrian) in this video, the Knicks run the same offense that Milwaukee, Houston, Denver and other high-scoring NBA teams do — running it through a big at the top of the key who can handle the ball.

Randle was at times On Fire. He finished with 30 points on 12-17 shooting (3-5 from 3), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, only 1 turnover for a +24 in 32 minutes.

Marc Berman of the NY Post and Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News both wrote a piece before the game on how Randle was talking with his agent and Elfrid Payton daily on removing the negativity from his mindset and dealing with the pressure of the big contract and the double teams he’s been seeing now that he is the fulcrum of the Knicks attack.

Quick Cleveland Guards Kept OUT of the Paint

And the Cleveland super fast point guards who had Killed the Knicks a week earlier — looked Small. Collin Sexton, as quick as he is, is only 6’1″ tall. Darius Garland, also quick, is 6’1″. For that matter Kevin Porter Jr started for Cleveland too — they run 3 quick guards at you — and Porter is small for a shooting guard at 6’4″.

The Knicks have Big guards — Frank Ntilikina is 6’6′; RJ Barrett is 6’7″. Dennis Smith Jr off the bench is 6’2″ (ok only a little bigger than Cleveland’s starters); Damyean Dotson off the bench is 6’7″. Big bodies and they looked big. Most importantly the Knicks team defense kept the quick Cleveland guards out of the paint, which was the Knicks strategy going in according to Fizdale.

Suffocating D & the 3

The Knicks started strong and took a 12-point lead in the 1st quarter. They amped up the Defense in the 2nd quarter — and were suffocating with their switching D and double teaming at times.

When Wayne Ellington, Bobby Portis, and Marcus Morris hit back-to-back-to-back 3’s midway through the 2nd quarter, the Knicks increased their lead to 18 and the blowout was on. These were the 3-point shooters that Coach David Fizdale said he’d prefer to have on his roster early last season; the 3-point shooters that GM Scott Perry went out and got him.

Up front, besides Randle, Mitchell Robinson was slam dunking on offense and playing his usual excellent D. Bobby Portis also played good defense — which he’s been playing this year — much better than his reputation. Kevin Knox had some nice drives to the basket and played mostly well but his 3 was off — 0-4 from 3 for 6 points on 2-10 in 20 minutes.

Knicks’ Big Guards

Meanwhile 6’7″ RJ Barrett was making his big man moves to the basket, seemingly relishing body contact — the more the better as he will make the basket.

And 6’7″ Damyean Dotson also played very well — 11 points on 5-10 in 18 minutes, and the good D. According to Marc Berman, Dotson, interviewed before the game, said he ‘totally understood not playing early in season because he missed all of exhibition season. Still doesn’t feel 100 percent fit but has locked up backup SG slot.’

Wayne Ellington got 9 minutes; the only orphan child remains Allonzo Trier who was cemented to the bench throughout, the only Knick not to play, even in the blowout.

Etcetera

According to the Knicks PR department, the “Knicks held their opponent to 20 points or less in four of the last nine quarters. New York is allowing 21 points per game in the first quarter over the last three games, which is third best in the NBA.”

The Knicks now venture into a very difficult schedule, with their next 11 games against teams that were in the playoffs last year. They will need all of the above and then some to hold their own. If they can somehow hold their own — this could turn out to be the beginning of a rejuvenation as the Knicks execute their 4-point plan.

During the game reports of Iggy Ignas Brazdeikis lighting up Westchester were coming across the twitter wire. He finished with 36 points.

The Nets got blown out this evening so that added to Knicks fans revelry.

The Boxscore

https://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=401160831

 

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