Close. No Cigar. 5 Reasons Why Cleveland 106 NY 103 on 1/15/21

Close. But no cigar. The Knicks made some crucial turnovers at the end of this game, and their defense wasn’t as sharp at it was when they beat Cleveland the first time the two teams met earlier this season — resulting in this smokeless loss, 106-103 on a Friday, Coronavirus night in January.

On the Sleeper Train Out of the Deep South

I was watching the game on an Amtrak train heading back to NYC from Washington DC — the Palmetto sleeper train coming out of the deep South. With the inauguration next week, the National Guard had closed Union Station and the train stops before and after it — resulting in an unexpected 2-mile walk to Union Station from Gallery Station. I was due to arrive by 8pm but my train bypassed Union Station and kept going — left me 2 stations to the North. I took a train in the other direction back and this time it made an announcement that Union Station was closed; it deposited me back at Gallery Station.

Walking QUICKLY through the rain and the massive amount of National Guard deployed everywhere — my cell phone telling me it was going to take 24 minutes to get to the station and my train leaving at 8:30 pm in 22 minutes — I was HIGH TAILING it thru the streets with my wheeled luggage, not sure if the National Guard would stop me at some point, and refuse to allow me to even get to Union Station. Didn’t even have time to take a picture of the many Guard troops and then arriving at Union at about 8:30pm — hoping the train would be late as it often is by as much as 45 minutes — but not today it is last call and closing and so the SPRINT thru Union Station to Gate K, where I JUST made the train. DRENCHED in sweat — lucky I could wash off in one of the train bathrooms and put a fresh shirt on (since I had luggage), go to the cafe car and buy a Sprite with a glass of ice, and then settle down to watch the Knicks on my laptop with Amtrak wifi.

A 35-or-so-year-old lady came and sat in the two seats to my left (during Coronavirus you’re not allowed to sit next to someone, and they only sell half the trains seats) — and she asked if I was watching the Knicks. I said yes; she said she was going to watch it later — and looking forward to the 3 games this weekend. I hadn’t realized there’d be 3 games; I should’ve asked her if she had a twitter handle, she knew her shit.

Observations on the game:

Late Turnovers

The Knicks were leading 84-80 with 10 minutes left. Cleveland battled back to take the lead, but stayed with them. When RJ Barrett hit a jump shot at 1:52 left it was a 98-97 Cleveland. Andre Drummond missed a shot inside and Barrett dribbled down court with 1:20 left, Knicks still down 98-97 — when he dribbled the ball off Drummond’s foot. Cleveland took it the other way and former Knick Damyean Dotson was fouled ‘just’ ahead of the field — a clear path foul was called — and he hit both free throws — then hit a layup when Cleveland was given the ball. A 4-pt play and ballgame.

I mentioned on Twitter that, “Barrett good game but those late turnovers hurt.” Knick fan Rodney Blaise pointed out, “Bro one of em was a kick ball.”

Knick fan Wicksell responded, “He dribbled it off Drummonds foot tho, plus it was a dumb move“.

Blaise: “No it wasn’t. And Dotson dribbles it off Reggie foot. Still a kick.”

Remember I was watching the game on my laptop on the Amtrak wireless — a slow wireless that night and the game itself was often fuzzy and delayed; I also had no sound on — so Rodney may be right. Did Drummond kick the ball?

Down 102-99 with 30 seconds left, Reggie Bullock made a bad pass that was stolen, resulting in 2 Andre Drummond free throws and the final stake in the heart.

Knick Defense Not as Effective As Last Time

After the game, coach Tom Thibodeau said the Knicks had played well, but weren’t able to close it out due to the mistakes. The Knicks defense in general wasn’t as effective as the last time the Knicks played Cleveland, a win a few weeks ago.

Cleveland scored 106 points — the damage done by Chris Osman (25 pts on 10-20 shooting, 5-9 from 3) and Andre Drummond (33 pts on 10-18 shooting, and 13-19 in free throws, 23 rebounds).

Larry Nance Jr also had an effective night — 14 pts on 6-10 (2-3 from 3) shooting.

Damyean Dotson was his usual streaky self — this time to Knicks’ advantage — 4-15 shooting (1-8 from 3) for 13 pts.

Barrett & Quickley Officially Out of their Slumps

Good news: Barrett and Immanuel Quickley both had their 2nd straight good shooting game — both breaking out of a multi-game shooting slump.

Barrett was 7-12 (2-4 from 3, 4-4 in free throws) for 20 pts, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks). Quickley had 23 points in 28 minutes on 9-17 (3-7 from 3) shooting, 5 rebounds, 4 assists.

Randle a BEAST

And Julius Randle bounced back from the poor shooting game agains the Nets to be his usual BEAST self — 28 points on 11-20 (2-4 from 3, 4-5 in free throws), 5 rebounds, and 6 assists.


When my stop came at 11:15 pm, on leaving I told the lady across the way to enjoy the game and have a good weekend. Couldn’t tell her the score.

The Boxscore

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