The Cleveland Cavaliers host the New York Knicks in Game 2 of this first-round playoff series at 7:30. Game 1 was certainly a disappointment for the Cavs with the team losing on the home floor by a score of 101-97 back on Saturday night.
While the Wine & Gold did have a chance to win close to the end of the game, they definitely did not look playoff hungry. Game 2 will once again be in Cleveland after a couple of days of rest.
There is going to be a lot of pressure because there is no longer that home-court advantage for the Cavs. If the Knicks win all of their home games, they win the series now.
What needs to be done for the Cavs to take Game 2?
Well, firstly it can’t all be the Donovan Mitchell Show. The star, in Game 1, had 38 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Even so, the Cavs still lost.
There needs to be more help. We saw this play out in the first LeBron stint back in the early 2000s.
The Cavs need to slow down Knicks PG Jalen Brunson. In 29 minutes, he truly took command with 27 points on 11-24 from the field. That total needs to be less in Game 2. Another Knick that needs to produce less is PF Julius Randle who scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds.
In Game 1, the Knicks dominated the rebounding, 51-38 (17-11 offensive) and that was crucial to their victory. The Cavs bench only had 14 points total, while the Knicks bench had 37 including 17 by SG Josh Hart. What a difference! That must be a better ratio including slowing down Hart for a Cavs Game 2 win.
The pressure is already on and it’s only Game 2. If the Cavs take this game, it makes the two-game trip back to New York not-so-daunting. Going down 0-2 and having to play the next two in New York and some may call it a series even after two games.
Who else needs to step up that didn’t do much in Game 1?
Big man Evan Mobley played 37 minutes and went 4-13 for eight points. That needs to be better despite his 11 boards.
SG Caris Levert played 18 minutes and only had three points on 1-7 shooting. If he is to see time, he must score and do it in a more efficient manner.
PF Dean Wade and PG Ricky Rubio each only played under 10 minutes. If the two see more time, let’s get some production from them in Game 2.
PG Darius Garland only scored 17 points in 43 total minutes. If he’s to play almost the entire game, he needs to score more to help out Mitchell.
Certainly, head coach JB Bickerstaff is already feeling the heat. How will the Cavs do in Game 2? It’s certain to be a great game!