Brunson leaves the Cavs on the brink of the abyss

More suffering, but same result. The Knicks beat the Cavs again, go 3-1 and approach the conference semifinals inexorably. Madison Square Garden was once again the epicenter of the world to embolden his team, who can reach the second round for the first time since 2013 and for the second since 2000. Driven by an indisputable desire to win, they took advantage of the low target of their rivals, who give the feeling that the season is getting long for them. Jalen Brunson was the captain general, RJ Barrett his second in command and the fans took center stage by right. The tie, one of the most difficult to predict in the first round, is beginning to become clear. This is how I put it on a sign at the end of the match: 95% of the teams that lead a 3-1 series come out champions. A stat that instills encouragement and confidence for the Knicks, that they can close the series on the fast track in Ohio or, if they lose, do the same in a hypothetical sixth game at Madison. is already a win or go home for the Cavs. Who are on the brink of the abyss, clear.

At the beginning, the Knicks did not vary one iota from the plan of the third game: a brutal defensive effort and an attack in which the ball insistently passed through Brunson’s hands. The one that did change, and it seems to have changedit’s Tom Thibodeau, a coach who has traditionally had only one plan but who has been able to adapt perfectly to this season, which began with many doubts for the Knicks … and this series. He had no problem seating a disastrous Julius Randle at the end, switching to a quintet of fewer inches, ensuring more defense and preventing him from rushing into an offense in which he has not entered at any time: 7 points, with 3 of 10 in shots from the field, 0 of 4 in triples and without helping either in the rebound (2) or in the distribution. Great decision of thibswhich adds to that one more reason for us to be aware of how he is winning the game against JB Bickerstaff, who did just the opposite: he kept Donovan Mitchell over and over again and his team paid for it: 11 points for the guard with 5 of 18 shooting from the field, 1 of 9 in the second half, 0 of 4 on three-pointers and 6 turnovers. Day to forget yours.

The Cavs, yes, they had options. They went as far as 15 down and were down 9 at the break (54-45), but came out of the changing room tunnel very well and took the game to exhaustion. With 10 minutes to go, the match was in a draw (75-75). At 6, there was still a game (86-81). Also 2 (94-87). A triple by Jalen Brunson undermined the comeback attempt and highlighted a night, his, magical: 29 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. And Madison vibrated with boiling while the Cavs forgot the script that led them to win the second round: a distributor Mitchell and a more executing Darius Garland. While the consolidated star missed one shot after another, the one who wants to be in the near future went to 23 points and 10 assists, but in only 16 shots, a sign that one assumes too much and takes away shots from what he would have to shoot. further. A farce that has been alive all season, but has exploded in the playoffswhere errors cannot be allowed and flat and predictable systems are doomed.

In the shelter provided by the protective wing of Madison, the Knicks overwhelmed their rivals in the fight for the rebound (59-42) and were faithful to the Thibodeau style, with little movement of the ball in attack (15 total assists), Lots of accountability from Brunson, constant one-on-ones and absolutely brilliant defense. The Cavs, who have averaged normal season more than 112 points per night, they have not reached that figure and in 3 of those games they have stayed below one hundred. Bickerstaff does not move the bench, he has only introduced Cedi Osman in a true rotation (21 minutes for 10 points), he does not know what to do with Isaac Okoro, now definitely a substitute behind Caris LeVert; and he has Ricky Rubio (just over 6 minutes) and Danny Green (more than 3) in an inexplicable situation. Of the starting five, Mitchell was the one who threw the most and scored the leastEvan Mobley went to 12 points, LeVert to 14 and Jarret Allen to the same, but with 4 poor rebounds, totally losing the game against a powerful Mitchell Robinson (12+11).

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Now, the series is going to Ohio. We’ll see if Bickerstaff changes anything or does the same thing and see how the season comes to a close, something the Cavs sometimes seem to want. Also if he has solutions against RJ Barrett (splendid today with 26 goals) and Josh Hart (very active, for a 19+7). But, above all, if he does something to stop a Brunson who walks freely in the face of the defensive difficulties that already have a backourt formed by Mitchell and Garland. New things, fresh ideas and some faith are needed to extend a series that does not look like it will last too long. At least, that is what the sensations of some Cavs tell us that have been satisfied with entering the playoffs and have not been what they promised when they signed a Mitchell who has suffered unspeakably due to a mixture of precipitation and New York defensive responsibility. The Knicks, 3-1, smile. The Madison vibrates again. And the Cavs have one foot on a pretty big cliff. And with one leg it is very difficult to maintain balance. Tightrope walking is what it has: if you don’t know how to do it, you fall. it is so.

Statistics

4

Derrick Rose
13

Evan Fournier
30

Julius Randle
3

Josh Hart
55

Isaiah Hartenstein
23

mitchell robinson
eleven

jalen brunson
9

RJ Barrett
18

roby isaiah
8

daquan jeffries
1

obi toppin
5

Immanuel Quickley
2

Miles McBride
44

Duane Washington Jr.
0

Trevor Keels

Statistics

MinptsRTRODRAstPerrecTapT1T2T3FRCFVal
4

Derrick Rose
0000000000/00/00/0000
13

Evan Fournier
0000000000/00/00/0000
30

Julius Randle
27720211011/33/60/4010
3

Josh Hart
391972523204/56/121/4020
55

Isaiah Hartenstein
twenty181722221/20/10/0050
23

mitchell robinson
2712eleven741002235/70/0020
eleven

jalen brunson
422962464112/26/135/9010
9

RJ Barrett
372620210018/139/120/6020
18

roby isaiah
0000000000/00/00/0000
8

daquan jeffries
0000000000/00/00/0000
1

obi toppin
twenty585310000/01/21/3010
5

Immanuel Quickley
19020210000/00/20/2010
2

Miles McBride
5310100000/00/01/1000
44

Duane Washington Jr.
0000000000/00/00/0000
0

Trevor Keels
0000000000/00/00/0000

Statistics

33

robin lopez
14

Danny Green
13

Ricky Rubio
16

cedi osman
19

Raul Neto
3

Caris LeVert
31

Jarrett Allen
Four. Five

Donovan Mitchell
10

Darius Garland
32

Dean Wade
35

Isaac Okoro
5

sam merrill
8

lamar stevens
twenty-one

Mamadi Diakite
4

Evan Mobley
fifteen

Isaiah Mobley

Statistics

MinptsRTRODRAstPerrecTapT1T2T3FRCFVal
33

robin lopez
0000000000/00/00/0000
14

Danny Green
3000000000/00/00/0010
13

Ricky Rubio
6021121000/00/00/0010
16

cedi osman
twenty-one1050521005/71/11/4030
19

Raul Neto
0000000000/00/00/0000
3

Caris LeVert
381492721114/52/42/6020
31

Jarrett Allen
401441301100/07/110/0010
Four. Five

Donovan Mitchell
41eleven40456101/25/140/4040
10

Darius Garland
3623202100003/37/122/4040
32

Dean Wade
0000000000/00/00/0000
35

Isaac Okoro
17900000020/03/41/5010
5

sam merrill
0000000000/00/00/0000
8

lamar stevens
0000000000/00/00/0000
twenty-one

Mamadi Diakite
0000000000/00/00/0000
4

Evan Mobley
351273432022/25/80/0060
fifteen

Isaiah Mobley
0000000000/00/00/0000

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