Rubio & Cavs Shoot MSG Lights Out. Cleveland 126 NY 109

Ricky Rubio, Evan Mobley, and the Cleveland Cavaliers shot lights out at Madison Square Garden to give the Knicks an ugly loss on a Sunday night. NY had just routed the defending Champion Milwaukee Bucks 2 nights earlier in Milwaukee — so this was a complete let-down game.

The Knicks were leading in the 1st half but Cleveland took it to them in the 3rd quarter. The Knicks pulled back within 6 points several times in the 4th but Cleveland always had an answer.

Cleveland has been playing great ball and goes to 7-4 on the year; the Knicks fell to 6-4.

“We have to be able to count on our defense, and we didn’t get that done,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards.

“It’s containment of the ball, it’s stopping the ball, it’s getting in, getting out; you have to have a multiple effort mentality,” said Thibodeau. “You can get the initial part right, but there’s a 2nd, 3rd, 4th effort that’s required. If you fall short in one of those areas, it’s going to show.”

1. Rubio Career Game

Rubio came off the bench to have a career night — 37 points on 13-19 from the floor and 8-9 from 3 — this from a player who used to have the reputation of an excellent playmaker whose weakness was shooting from the outside.

But players always seem to have career bests at Madison Square Garden before the celebrities and the Mecca of Basketball atmosphere.

2. Top Draft Pick Mobley Stars

The 6’11 Mobley was the #3 overall pick in last June’s draft out of USC and he has taken the NBA by storm. He was 11-15 from the floor (including 2-4 from 3) for 26 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and a +26. He is now averaging 14.9 ppg and 8.0 rpg and showed an ability to work inside and outside.

Cleveland also has Jarrett Allen, one of the best young bigs in the game. And Allen was tough inside — 18 points (on 8-15 shooting) and 17 rebounds.

3. Knick Centers Got 8 Blocks, But NY Outrebounded

The Knicks had Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Nerlens Noel, and Obi Toppin combining to guard Mobley and Allen.

Nerlens Noel got the majority of minutes at center (30 minutes vs Robinson’s 17). Noel had 3 blocks in 30 minutes with 6 points (on 2-2 shooting) and 6 rebounds for a -4.

Robinson had 8 pts on 3-3 shooting in his 17 minutes with 7 rebounds and 5 blocks — a great evening for him — yet had a -11.

Combined, the Knick centers had 13 rebounds and 8 blocks.

Julius Randle (19 pts on 7-17 shooting, 1-5 from 3) had 7 rebounds and the Knicks overall were outrebounded 48-32.

Prior to the game coach Tom Thibodeau said the Knick rebounding had been subpar and they needed to work on it.

Asked about Robinson’s conditioning after the 6 month layoff due to injury, Thibodeau said “It’s still a work in progress; you know he’s missed a lot of time. Overall I’m very pleased with him. And Nerlens is working his way back as well. Usually between the two of them, a lot of good things happen.”

4. Barrett an Off Game

RJ Barrett had an off game — 3-13 including 0-6 from 3 for 6 points and a -14. Rookie Quentin Grimes played the entire 4th quarter — trying to guard Rubio. Grimes had 6 points on 2-3 shooting.

Kemba Walker was out so Derrick Rose started and played well — 17 points on 8-15 shooting. Alec Burks gave good minutes off the bench (10 points) and Immanuel Quickley (12 points) had an excellent game — penetrating, scoring, and assisting.

The Boxscore

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