Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Knicks Grow Up, Stun Cavs on Road

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Knicks Grow Up, Stun Cavs on Road

Article excerpt

"In terms of our execution offensively was much better. We protected the basketball. Seven turnovers, I wish we could do that every night but I don't expect that."

Steve Mills

Knicks president, on the team's win Friday over the Nets

CLEVELAND — It was late in the third quarter Sunday and LeBron James was dribbling to set up a last shot and with no contest, he simply lost his dribble. He didn't move to recover it as Knicks' rookie Frank Ntilikina picked up the loose ball and raced the other way. He misfired from long range as time expired, but the point was made.

The frustration from James signified everything wrong with the Cavs on this night and somehow, it was all understandable. The three-time defending Eastern Conference Champions were going through the motions, seemingly confused by their own foibles. And the Knicks summer rebuild plans seemed to accelerate by years in this one night.

The building blocks that the team has tried to put in place for the future - pieces that looked lost just five nights earlier in Boston - all clicked to perfection. Kristaps Porzingis was the most dominant force on the floor, toying with Cavs defenders with an assortment of moves for 32 points. Tim Hardaway Jr. shook off his early-season shooting woes to pour in 34 points. And Ntilikina looked unusually comfortable defending the likes of James or Dwyane Wade.

The real lesson was not in taking advantage of a struggling Cavs team that looked old and worn down, but surviving when the Cavs woke up in the fourth quarter. The Knicks saw the lead go from 17 to 6 in a span of less than four minutes. But they survived the onslaught and hung on for a 114-95 win over the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. It marked their first win over the Cavs since opening night of the 2014-15 season - LeBron James' first game back in Cleveland.

"I was happy for our guys, we had the big lead and they cut it to six. They could have folded against a veteran team like that. they came back and made some big shots. They just played and pulled it out."

In the morning, Knicks' president Steve Mills pointed to the win Friday and was optimistic that signs that surfaced in that game could be a step forward. …

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