Knicks Are Good. 4 Reasons Why NY 102 Clev 81 on 1/29/21

And just like that, the Knicks had lost 3 in a row on the West Coast, the last loss being to Utah, a game where NY squandered a double-digit lead while Utah took over in the 2nd half. But Utah is a good team — now winners of 11 in a row after winning the next 2 after the Knicks game (back-to-back blowouts of Dallas).

Meanwhile the Knicks took on Cleveland in this game at MSG on a Friday night. Friday night Knicks Jinx.

Not this time the Knicks are a good team too — and they showed it by beating Cleveland easily — the same Cleveland team that a week ago beat the Nets in overtime.

Here’s how it went down:

1. Quickley Sensational

This was a game where Immanuel Quickley was just Sensational in the 2nd half. Quickley lit up the Coronavirus-empty Madison Square Garden with 25 points on 9-17 (5-8 from 3, 2-2 in free throws) shooting for a +19.

Quickley was on attack attack attack mode. He hit 3’s. He hit runners. He hit teammates for passes and scores. He hit the floor while sinking a 3 for a 4-point play. He hit just about everything he took. He did shimmies too. And swam on the Madison Square Garden floor after one important 3.

2. Knicks DEFENSE

Lost in Quickley’s sensational play was the Knicks DEFENSE that quieted Cleveland — including their high-scoring guard Collin Sexton, star center Andre Drummond, and forward Larry Nance Jr. That defense started with Elfrid Payton disrupting Sexton or Darius Garland in the first half. At the half, Payton had over 20 minute played to Quickley’s 4 minutes.

RJ Barrett and Austin Rivers also helped quell the quick Cleveland guards. A week earlier, Sexton went NUTS against the Brooklyn Nets in overtime to help beat them — scoring 25 points in Cleveland’s 125-113 victory. In that game Drummond and Nance Jr also had big scoring nights.

Against Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks, Cleveland only scored 81 points. The Knick guards were bigger than Cleveland’s guards, and throttled them or their passes to Drummond and Nance.

Sexton was 6-18 for 17 pts, Drummond finished 2-7 for 4 pts, and Nance Jr had 2 pts on 1-9 shooting. Cedi Osman, Cleveland’s sharp shooting small forward, was 1-7 for 3 points. DEFENSE.

3. Barrett = Beast

RJ Barrett was a BEAST again for the Knicks, dominating Cleveland on Defense and on Offense. He had 24 pts on 8-19 (2-4 from 3, 6-7 in free throws), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals — and had you thinking you wouldn’t trade him for anyone in the NBA right now, not even Luka. Barrett is 20 years old and getting better by the game; already effecting the game on both sides of the court — a 6’7 athletic beast with a ton of basketball ability.

4. Team Effort

Besides the swarming Knick defense all night, and the spectacular play of Quickley and Barrett — other Knicks contributed (besides Payton’s D on Sexton).

Mitch Robinson played good D against Drummond, helped out by Nerlens Noel when Mitch picked up fouls trying to deny Drummond (which he did). Noel had a +24.

Julius Randle had and efficient 16 points (7-13, 0-2 from 3, 2-3 in free throws), 8 rebounds, 6 assits and a +14

Obi Toppin made some strong plays for 5 pts in his 13 minutes as first man off bench. Knox only played 8 minutes, 0 points.


In the days before the game, rumor had gone out over Twitter that Washington might be looking to peddle 27-yr-old Bradley Beal (and his max salary), currently leading the NBA in scoring at 35 ppg. And some (probably very young) Knick fans have been speculating on twitter that the Knicks should make a trade and they’d need to send Barrett with Randle &/or Robinson with some 1st round picks to get Beal — which is utterly and scarily naive talk — probably some very young fans looking at 35 ppg scoring average and think it means something.

At the end of this game, Quickley had us tweeting:

Immanuel Quickley > Bradley Beal

I’d even argue I wouldn’t trade Barrett for Luka Doncic — who is spectacular offensively but is being accused of not playing Defense in Dallas, and ps is shooting .286 from 3 this year, after .316 from 3 last year, and .327 as a rookie. Barrett is at .287 from 3 after .320 last year — oddly enough as Barrett seems to be shooting much better from 3 this year.

The Knicks posted a tweet of Walt Frazier in one of his old minks at the empty MSG — all dressed up with a place to go, but nobody goes there anymore.

The Boxscore

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