Rapid Reaction: Cavaliers 98, Knicks 90
April, 20, 2012
By Michael Singer | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
WHAT IT MEANS: Losing to the lowly Cavaliers certainly wasn't how Amare Stoudemire envisioned his first game back from a 13-game absence. Stoudemire had as many fouls (five) as he did field goals, and finished with 15 points and just three rebounds.
The Knicks (33-30) need full cooperation from the Magic if they want the sixth seed for the playoffs. Either an Orlando win or a Knicks loss eliminates any chance New York has of attaining the sixth seed and thus avoiding Miami or Chicago in the first round.
THE GOOD: Mike Bibby, playing on short notice due to Baron Davis' stomach virus, orchestrated the Knicks' offense -- which is adjusting to life with Stoudemire back -- as well as anyone could have asked. The veteran point guard tallied 12 points, including nine in the second half, and four assists. On the season, Bibby averages 2.5 points per game.
THE BAD: The Cavaliers' frontcourt of Antawn Jamison, Tristan Thompson, Luke Harangody and Omri Casspi outrebounded the Knicks' trio of Tyson Chandler, Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony 26-12.
PLAYER SPECIFIC: Playing in his first game since injuring his back March 24, Stoudemire was unable to find any rhythm. He was mired in foul trouble and was able to play only in six-minute spurts. He had difficulty extending his defense out of the post.
BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME: With 10:08 left in the fourth quarter, Cavs guard Manny Harris heaved a 41-foot 3-pointer that banked in as the shot clock was expiring, giving the Cavaliers a 17-point lead. It was the largest deficit the Knicks had faced to that point in the game. Seemingly everything went right for Harris, who had 19 points and 12 rebounds, often with J.R. Smith checking him.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks visit the Hawks (38-25) on Sunday. Atlanta is currently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.