Let’s not get it twisted, despite this not being your typical New York Knicks team, that was a typical Knick collapse.
Although you might want to give credit for how the New York Knicks hung in and even at times dominated the Cavs, the truth is there are no more moral victories in this league. Yeah, we all cheered watching Enes Kanter rush to defend Frank Ntilikina against LeBron James. Of course, we want tough Knicks — that’s why most of us are Knick fans to begin with.
They brought their new admirable energy against the Cavs, but here are the big takeaways:
1. This team doesn’t know how to execute in crunch time just yet.
Just because they have executed against say, the Phoenix Suns, doesn’t mean they know how to do it against the best competition at the highest level of focus. And as we have seen in teams like the Washington Wizards, unless a team can bring equal focus and be lucky enough to roster cohesive and complementary talent, they will be bound for the obscure limbo that is ironically certain:
You will make the playoffs, and you will lose. It’s part of what has kept LeBron in the Finals for seven straight seasons.
2) LeBron exposed Porzingis.
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There are no two ways about it. He babied him in the fourth quarter and gave him something to think about … and perhaps even lose some sleep over. Now that Kristaps Porzingis is playing MVP-conversation basketball, his skinny frame or lack of experience perhaps have become forgotten details. This loss was a harsh reminder.
So they will grow, but what is inexcusable is the mood in the post-game coverage of this game. It’s the perfect example of what Michael Rapaport would call the “skinny jeanification” of the NBA.
There are no moral victories, especially once you prove, as the Knicks have, that they can beat teams with obvious weaknesses such as lack of identity or young teams that make a lot of rookie mistakes.
And that’s great.
But in the end, the New York Knicks newfound success in the post-Melo era comes with a responsibility, and they didn’t own up to their’s against the Cavs.