Recap: Cavs 115, Knicks 109 (Or, New York, New Hope)

February 26th, 2011 by John Krolik

Overview: The new-look Knicks fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. The Cavaliers mauled the Knicks on the boards, and J.J. Hickson led the Cavaliers with 24 points, 15 rebounds, and five blocks.

I think I like this bullets:

Okay, who thought the Cavs were going to beat the Knicks? And of those people, who thought the Cavs were going to beat the Knicks and shoot 42% from the floor?

It’s tempting to call this game a product of good old-fashioned teamwork and hustle prevailing over an unholy alliance of All-Stars, but it’s hard to reconcile that viewpoint when you consider that Chuck Hayes had nearly twice as many offensive rebounds as the Cavaliers did last night.

The defining factor in this game was that the Knicks have no idea what they’re doing offensively right now. They’ve yet to have a practice together, and they’ve barely gotten any sleep since Carmelo joined the team. Offensively, they were a mess. Their slipped screens got them nothing, they didn’t get consistent dribble penetration or deep position, and they basically swung the ball around the perimeter until Stoudemire or Anthony thought they could go ISO and fire up a mid-range jumper. Stoudemire, Anthony, and Billups got their points, but they had to work very hard to get them, and the supporting cast didn’t give the Knickerbockers anything.

On a Cavaliers note, HICKSOMANIA has returned. 24 hours after a terrible game. Not sure what to make of that. He was up to the challenge of Amare on both ends. He challenged every shot and had some incredible blocks, he crashed the boards, he attacked the paint, and he looked more confident with his left than he has all season. I don’t know how the Hickson experiment will ultimately turn out, but I’m glad he’s on our side. Although that beard has to go.

Razor Ramon was on his game. He took it to the basket every time, and he put a lot of pressure on New York’s defense by pushing the ball. He’s not going to make Steve Nash passes, but he forces the defense to collapse on him in transition and drops the ball off to the guy they’re not watching. That works for me. I honestly worry about Baron coming in when Ramon has been playing like a legit starting point guard.

Jamison was Jamison — 28 points on 25 shots, and a great game on the board. To his credit, he held his own against the Knicks’ bigs, and that does warrant a mention.

Eyenga’s shot selection and Boobie’s shooting slump have become causes for concern. Eyenga is a classic example of the “he’ll be legit next year, but may be hurting the team in his current state” paradox.

AP is legit. You have to think he wishes he was traded, but he’s playing his efficient brand of basketball anyways. Hopefully he keeps this up and gets a contract with a contender next season.

Don’t have much more for tonight. This was a great win. The Knicks had the All-Stars, but the Cavs worked harder and played cleaner, which is a great sign after the defensive and rebounding efforts they had against Houston. The Cavs have now won three of five. Sure, those wins have come against an exhausted Laker team, a Clipper team that sucks on the road, and a very confused Knick team, but THE CAVS HAVE WON THREE OF FIVE. We can build on this. Hopefully Baron won’t mess things up too badly.