Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks Post Game Recap March 31

Final Score: Cleveland Cavaliers 75 New York Knicks 91 

It wasn’t as easy as some people thought it was going to be, but the short-handed Knicks were able to pull out the victory tonight over the Cleveland Cavaliers 91-75. The Cavaliers suffered their 7th straight loss, while the Knicks ran their winning streak at home to 7 games. The win tonight also pushed the Knicks record under Mike Woodson to 9-2. Even after hearing the news that starting Point Guard Jeremy Lin would be lost for up to 6 weeks, the Knicks were able to still come together and pull out a hard fought victory. They Knicks also lengthened their lead over the Milwaukee Bucks to 2 ½ games for 8th place in the Eastern Conference. 

-Evenly Distributed Offense 

It was a tough night for the Knicks from the field, shooting only 39.5% collectively, but they got contributions from a number of players. Carmelo Anthony set the tone early, scoring 8 points in the first quarter and finishing the game with 19 on 7-14 shooting. Tyson Chandler added 14 points to go along with his 12 rebounds and Iman Shumpert added 10 points continuing his hot shooting from downtown, going 2-5 from 3-point land. 

J.R. Smith led the Knicks in scoring tonight off the bench, putting the team on his back in the 4th quarter. He scored 10 of his team high 20 points in the 4th quarter. Smith also had 9 rebounds in the game and finished with a team high +19 plus/minus ratio. 

-Great Defensive Effort 

The Knicks did not blow out the Cavaliers like many people expected, only taking full control in the 4th quarter. But that does not mean they did not dominate the game. The Knicks were able to control the game throughout, never really being in danger of losing the game. They held the Cavaliers to 38.9% shooting, which resulted in them giving up their least amount of points for an opponent on the season. 

The Knicks were ferocious on the defensive end of the court, playing the passing lanes and showing muscle in the paint. The Knicks finished with 13 steals, led by J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert who had 5 each and had 5 blocks as a team led by 3 from Tyson Chandler. 

-Ball Control 

Again the Knicks turnover numbers were a little high tonight, adding to their league high amount with another 17. These are not turnovers that are being caused by the other team in most cases either, just simple mistakes that are self-caused. Simple chest and bounce passes are hard to execute at times and make the Knicks look out of sorts and confused on offense. 
This can be because of the revolving door rotation the Knicks are dealing with because of injuries, but there is no time for excuses. The Knicks need to get on the same page and work this out. Fixing these self-afflicted wounds will make their offense that much more dangerous. 

The Knicks are going to have to figure out how to limit turnovers and control the ball better without Jeremy Lin. Baron Davis is more than capable of doing it, but is not his normal self, dealing with a trained hamstring. The hamstring injury is limiting his explosiveness and is making him a step slow. This causes a dilemma for Woodson because he seems hesitant to play Mike Bibby or Toney Douglas, lacking confidence in both players. The Knicks will have to figure something out because Davis right now cannot handle playing 30+ minutes a game. 

The next game for the Knicks is Tuesday night in Indiana against the Pacers at 7:00 P.M. ET. This will be the first game in a tough stretch for the Knicks, who will have to continue to play with heart and intensity while short-handed.

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