New York Knicks: Late run awards Cavaliers the ‘tank’ game

A strong run throughout this game did not last for the New York Knicks, who dropped Thursday’s matchup to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

For most of Thursday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New York Knicks stayed ahead. Defense was questionable at times, but they shot well from the floor and mostly limited the Cavs to just three-pointers. That lasted until this game’s final five minutes, as the Knicks blew a six-point lead and cost themselves the game, 125-118.

The last five minutes was not the only positive play for Cleveland, as they had 40 points in the full fourth quarter, compared to New York’s 21. It made the difference and ended the blue and orange’s winning streak at two.

It’s not like it was a poor performance from the Knicks, either. Seven players finished in double figures, led by Allonzo Trier’s 22 points in 32 minutes off the bench. He was among the more players off the pine to top 10 points, as Emmanuel Mudiay delivered another solid game as Dennis Smith Jr.’s backup (10 points and six assists).

Overall, the Knicks shot 48.4 percent. The Cavs were just percentage points higher, but their 41.2 percent from behind the arc made the difference, especially as four starters hit multiple of these shots.

In the much anticipated “tank race,” the Knicks remained the NBA’s second-worst record with this loss. Cleveland was behind them by one game entering Thursday night. The Phoenix Suns still own the top lottery odds if the season ended today.

  • Mitchell Robinson‘s 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks may not seem as impressive as other recent stat lines, but for a stretch, he was the most exciting and productive player at both ends of the court. His defensive impact goes beyond the stat sheet, using a 7-foot-4 wingspan to alter shots.

  • Another fine night from the man with the fresh contract, Henry Ellenson. He had 13 points and five rebounds. As a more well-rounded backup, it has pushed the limited Luke Kornet to the bench’s end.
  • No Frank Ntilikina, again. The Knicks still have not provided a concrete return date for the young guard, and he’ll be hard-pressed to carve a significant role with Smith Jr., Mudiay, Trier and Damyean Dotson all producing in the backcourt.
  • Noah Vonleh jumped off the page for a bit, pulling down 10 rebounds and scoring 16 points. His role had faded over the past 2-3 weeks.
Next: 25 greatest players in NYK history

The New York Knicks will return against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, Mar. 3, at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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