The New York Knicks stole Game 1 on the road against the Cleveland Cavs on Saturday night in a thrilling finish, 101-97. It’s the Knicks’ first opening road series win since 1999. Donovan Mitchell was sensational in his postseason debut with the Cavs by dropping 38 points.
Mitchell did everything he could to lift his team to victory. The Knicks wanted Mitchell during the off-season, but it all paid off when they got Jalen Brunson. Speaking of Brunson, he had a mesmerizing second-half performance after getting into early foul trouble. He had a big third quarter and came through in a clutch situation. He led the Knicks with 27 points.
The Cavs needed more production from Darius Garland. He’s one of the best players on the team. For the Cavs to have playoff success, they will need him to answer the bell. Yes, he had four steals in this game, but he only scored 17 points on 7-for-13 from the field. It’s solid, but it’s not enough and we know he can do much better than that. Mitchell carrying the team won’t do any justice. He did that in Utah and you saw what happened.
Jarrett Allen added 14 rebounds. Darius Garland must show up in Game 2 because they don’t want to return to the Garden with a 0-2 deficit. Evan Mobley needs to be better as well. He finished the game with eight points and 11 rebounds and shot 4-for-13. Evan Mobley missed a bunch of shots in the paint. Cleveland’s bench is nowhere to be found. Caris LeVert, Ricky Rubio, Dean Wade and Cedi Osman combined to shoot 4-of-13. Not good, not good.
You can win ball games if you rebound and make your free throws. That’s one of the biggest takeaways from this game about this Cavs team. The Cavs got outrebounded by the Knicks 51 to 38. The Knicks made 86% of their free throws, while the Cavs made 71%. Rebounds and making free throws can often determine the outcome of the game.
The Cavs are looking to get back in the series in Game 2 on Tuesday at 7:30 pm.