It’s been 188 days since the New York Knicks beat the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs, and it isn’t a loss that Cleveland has forgotten. The Cavaliers waited all offseason to get another go at the Knicks, and that chance will happen twice this week.
New York is in Ohio for a nationally televised game on Tuesday night, and then both teams will travel to NYC for another game on Wednesday. To cut down on travel, the NBA will schedule back-to-backs in the same city, but in this case, the Knicks and Cavaliers will flip-flop arenas.
Isaac Okoro was one of Cleveland’s most talkative players in the postseason, calling Jalen Brunson out for his “antics.” It isn’t a tactic that worked out well for Okoro, with Brunson averaging 24 points on 43.7% shooting from the field. Some believed that Okoro would be able to lock up the point guard, but Brunson proved to once again be unstoppable in the playoffs.
Okoro recently admitted that after losing to New York, he became a Miami Heat fan simply because he wanted to see the Knicks lose.
"“I know [losing to the Knicks] stuck with me for a pretty long time,” Okoro said. “It took me a minute to get over it.”"
Isaac Okoro rooted against Knicks until “they were kicked out of the playoffs”
New York and Cleveland enter Tuesday’s matchup with 1-2 records, with the Cavaliers losing their previous two games to the Thunder and Pacers. Donovan Mitchell didn’t play against Indiana for what was labeled as hamstring soreness, but he practiced on Monday.
Maybe Mitchell’s absence had a little something to do with the back-to-back against New York this week.
The atmosphere will definitely feel a little playoff-ish, with Cleveland fueled by its postseason shortcomings.
"Power forward Evan Mobley added, “We definitely want to get this win and put it on them. So we’re definitely getting prepared and ready for that game.”"
Jalen Brunson had an off night against the Pelicans on Saturday, and one thing about him is that he doesn’t stay down for long. If Isaac Okoro is lucky, maybe Brunson will throw in a few antics.
If the Cavaliers are this hyped up to play the Knicks, it’ll be interesting to see how Cleveland reacts to New York trading for Donovan Mitchell in the offseason.
In all honesty, hopefully New York fans will get to watch some good basketball, and not whatever it was the team put on display Saturday. What better time to rebound with a win than Halloween?