The New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers are two teams in a very similar predicament. Both franchises are close to the bottom of the Eastern Conference and are in rebuild mode right now, with some exciting young players on their rosters. So when these two teams faced off against each other, many were expecting a close and enticing game. And in that regard, fans were not disappointed.
RJ Barrett and Julius Randle particularly had good games, with the latter recording an impressive 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in just 28 minutes. Overall, it was a good game for the New York Knicks, but one the Cleveland Cavaliers let slip away despite leading by 14 points headed into the fourth quarter.
New York Knicks' young lineup seals the deal against the Cleveland Cavaliers
As mentioned before, the New York Knicks were down by 14, and many expected the Cleveland Cavaliers to put the game away. But then, Tom Thibodeau played a very young lineup for the majority of the fourth quarter, and things started to turn around immediately for the team.
The lineup consisted of Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Kevin Knox, RJ Barrett, and Mitchell Robinson. All of these players are under the age of 23.
While the New York Knicks had a very good day at the office overall, their top rookie in Obi Toppin struggled to really get going. He only scored 8 points but grabbed 7 rebounds during the game, and to be fair to him, he seemed to grow into it with every passing minute. It may be wise for the franchise to keep giving him minutes and let him acclimatize to the NBA during the regular season.
It must be mentioned that the Cleveland Cavaliers were clearly not at full strength during this game. Key players such as Collin Sexton and Kevin Love did not play in this game, resulting in what looked like a lackluster roster.
And so, not only was defense a problem for the team in this game but the Cleveland Cavaliers also sorely needed more scoring.
The quality of play could have been higher, to say the least, but that can simply be chalked up this match being a preseason game. Still, there were positives to take for both sides.
For the New York Knicks, given how well they performed, the young lineup the team ended the game with could be one to go forward with when the regular season starts. If that lineup develops, the franchise may well and truly have a winning team for the first time in several years.
For the Cleveland Cavaliers, there were some impressive performances as well. Rookie Isaac Okoro had a relatively good game and showed flashes of what he could one day become for the franchise. Andre Drummond and Darius Garland were impressive as well, with the former recording 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assists in just 21 minutes.
It will be interesting to see how both the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers perform and improve when the NBA regular season finally begins.
Also Read: NBA Trade Rumors: The case for and against the Milwaukee Bucks acquiring Zach LaVine this offseasonPublished 17 Dec 2020, 10:28 IST