Written by William Lee
Two questionable calls went against New York late in the game, sending the Knicks to their worst start through 20 games in franchise history. First questionable call was a travel called on Carmelo Anthony, who took a hop step through the lane that would have been the go-ahead layup, and then a minute later an 8 second violation was called when it was not clear if New York ever even had possession of the ball at any point, it was more of a scrum for the loose ball. With these events unfolding the way it did, it paved the way for a Kyrie Irving finger roll layup for a game high and season high 37 points, getting Cleveland past New York 90-87 Thursday night.
Who would have thunk it? A month ago when New York ruined Cleveland’s opening night, that the Knicks would only win three more games by December 04, 2014 when the two teams matched up again. Since that faithful day both teams have gone in completely different directions, albeit the Cavaliers still not meeting expectations.
New York looked a lot livelier Thursday night, whereas on far too many nights player’s efforts have come into questioning. The Knicks showed a lot of effort early on, grabbing four offensive rebounds in the opening two minutes. Iman Shumpert grabbing the fifth offensive rebound collected by New York in as many minutes of play, best exemplified the hustle the Knicks played with Thursday night early on, grabbing the offensive rebound, then chasing down a loose ball after losing control of the ball, passing it to a wide open Carmelo Anthony who reverse dunked the ball. It was a great back and forth game in the first quarter with eight lead changes, and five ties. Cavaliers led 25-24 after the opening period.
Tim Hardaway Jr. whom has been on a recent shooting slump came off the bench, and provided a scoring punch, igniting a 13-0 run early in the second quarter, gave New York a double digit lead 37-27. Hardaway Jr. scored 11 of the 13 points in the run, including three three-pointers. Behind the efforts of Irving’s 17 second quarter points though, Cleveland would get back into the game by halftime, ending the period on a 9-2 run to get within one possession 53-50.
Amare Stoudemire posterizes poor Anderson Varejao early in the fourth quarter to give New York a 75-70 lead. Although it would seem that, that play got Stoudemire too hyper up afterwards, as he picked up two personal fouls a minute afterwards. One on while fighting for a defensive rebound and then again while fighting for low post position to receive the ball. Both teams struggled with turnovers, particularly in the second half. Cleveland turned the ball over 17 times, and New York was even worse, losing the ball 21 times. None two bigger than the two questionable calls from the referees against the Knicks that resulted in huge turnovers.
Even with those two calls, New York had a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime. Coming out of a timeout with ten seconds remaining the game, there was no question that Anthony would attempt the game tying three. Unfortunately it would be his 15th missed field goal of the game, Anthony had a very poor performance, being held to single digit points the first time this season, as well as coughing up the ball five times.