After going 4-1 against the New York Knicks in their last five meetings together, the Cavaliers lost to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden 120-103 on Wednesday, Feb. 29.
The Cavaliers went from being up by 17 points nearing the end of the second quarter to down by 17 by the time the game was over. Cleveland played possibly their best half of the season (61 points) and their worst half of the season (37 points) in the same game. But, as you can tell, it was a tale of two halves.
Jeremy Lin: 10 points, 5 assists
Daniel Gibson: 10 points
Tristan Thompson: 9 points
Lead at end of half: 12
Jeremy Lin: 9 points, 8 assists
Daniel Gibson: 3 points
Tristan Thompson: 2 points
Lead at end of half: -17
The Cavaliers were aggressive attacking the hoop early on and were evenly spreading ball distribution. The Cavaliers also had Gibson streaking from behind the three-point line, sparking a double-digit lead. In the second half, the Knicks had their own version of Boobie.
The next person to don the discount double check belt, after Aaron Rodgers of course, was Steve Novak of the New York Knicks. Novak had 17 points off the bench and shot almost lights out, going 5-8 from three-point land. Novak, who has emerged as one of the NBA’s best long-range shooters off the bench, helped his team out even more than Gibson did.
The aggressiveness that Thompson brought to the floor that was present in the first 24 minutes was nonexistent in the final half of the game. J.R. Smith provided more than just nine points off the bench by also electrifying the Garden with next-to Jeremy Lin levels of excitement. The Knicks should be very happy to have Smith on their bench.
The Knicks, who may have one of the best benches in the NBA with Baron Davis, Jared Jeffries, Novak, Smith and Iman Shumpert, embarrassed the Cavaliers bench tonight, outscoring them 50-40.
I don’t know if it was the bright lights and big stage that the Garden provides, but the Cavaliers have now dropped two in a row since returning from the All-Star break. Once again, the reoccurring problem that has been bothering the Cavaliers all season long led to their demise Wednesday night.
17 turnovers, with 15 of them coming in the second half, doomed Cleveland who was hoping that Lin would cough up the ball just as much. Lin managed to only lose control of the ball once. Kyrie Irving, however, turned over the ball a team-high four times.
The Cavaliers (13-20) will head back home to The Q to host the Chicago Bulls (28-8) Friday night.