Recap Playoff Game 2 | Cavs Win 107 – 90 vs. Knicks

April 19, 2023

Andy Billman

Redemption and Grit

On Tuesday night, Darius Garland redeemed himself after a disappointing playoff debut by leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 107-90 victory over the New York Knicks. Garland scored 32 points, with 26 of them coming in the first half, setting the tone for the Cavs and ensuring that they evened their Eastern Conference playoff series at one game apiece.

Garland’s aggressive play was a stark contrast to his timid performance in Game 1, where he didn’t attempt a shot in the fourth quarter and finished with only one assist in 43 minutes. His teammates and coaches urged him to be more assertive, and he took their advice to heart.

During film sessions, his teammates pointed out moments when he needed to shoot. Everywhere he went, he heard the same message: be aggressive and shoot the ball. And that’s exactly what he did in Game 2.

Garland’s redemption was made even sweeter by the fact that he had beaten himself up for his Game 1 performance for two days leading up to the second game. He had watched the film from the first game and saw opportunities where he could have been more aggressive. In Game 2, he didn’t let those opportunities pass him by.

The Cavs’ win was a team effort, with Caris LeVert scoring 24 points off the bench and Donovan Mitchell adding 17 points and a career playoff-high 13 assists. Cleveland was much more physical than in Game 1 and went toe to toe with the Knicks. They matched the Knicks’ physicality from the outset, winning the 50/50 balls that went to New York in the opener.

The Knicks got the split they needed in rowdy Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to head home for Game 3 at Madison Square Garden on Friday night. Despite the loss, Julius Randle scored 22 points, and Jalen Brunson added 20 for New York. The Knicks will need to regroup and bring their A-game to Madison Square Garden if they want to take the series lead.

The game ended with a hard foul on Randle by Cavs center Jarrett Allen, which caused Randle to fall awkwardly out of bounds. Randle was upset by the contact and exchanged words with several Cavs players and coach J.B. Bickerstaff. Allen was called for a flagrant foul, but Bickerstaff felt it was undeserved. Despite the heated exchange, both teams will need to put the incident behind them and focus on Game 3.

Overall, Game 2 was a much better performance than the Cavaliers, and it was all thanks to Garland’s redemption. With their All-Star guard playing with confidence and aggression, the Cavs look like a formidable opponent for the Knicks. Game 3 is Friday at 8:30 pm EST. at Madison Square Garden promises to be an intense battle, and it will be interesting to see if Garland and the Cavs can keep up the momentum.

See you in N.Y.

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