Cleveland Cavaliers struggle in Game 3
The Cleveland Cavaliers looked lost and disorientated on the road, succumbing to a blowout loss to the New York Knicks, 99-79. With a second tough defeat against a single win thus far, the young Cavs have yet to prove they truly belong with the top teams in the NBA Playoffs.
Following a relatively close opening quarter, the Cavs began reeling in the second period which allowed the home team to go up by double-figures which eventually ballooned to as much as 27 at one point near the endgame.
Darius Garland, who led all scorers with 32 points in a spirited Game Two win at home, struggled mightily in Madison Square Garden, shooting a dismal 4-for-21 from the field to tally just 10 points and three measly assists. Donovan Mitchell had 22 points for Cleveland but had little help as everyone else struggled shooting, especially from deep.
On the other end, Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett combined for 40 markers, while three other Knickerbockers also notched double-figures in scoring to help New York cruise to a huge Game 3 win.
The Cavs will look to regain home-court advantage
Winning the fourth game might be critical for the Cavaliers to regain the edge in this series, especially after losing homecourt advantage with a close loss in their playoff-opening match. Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s staff will now have to make the right adjustments to try and salvage a win, lest they fall into a 3-1 deficit and nearly certain doom for the young team’s postseason hopes.
It is worth noting that apart from Mitchell, Jarrett Allen, and backup guards Ricky Rubio and Raul Neto, very few players have actual playoff experience and have suited up for their first postseason away game in a raucous arena. Now they can either learn from this and recover, or continue spiraling.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will now have to learn to overcome another sold-out, hostile Madison Square Garden crowd to try and earn back homecourt advantage when they face the New York Knicks once more for the pivotal third game on April 23.