The Knicks built a huge lead against Cleveland, accumulating a 23 point lead in the second half, then blew it in classic Knicks fashion.
New York has had an incredible start to the season. Thirteen games in and New York is above .500, Porzingis is putting up MVP-level numbers, and teams are starting to respect what the Knicks can do. That being said, the Knicks are still the Knicks, and that was in full display Monday night.
After a close and chippy first quarter, New York held Cleveland to just 13 points in the second quarter, controlling a 13-point lead heading into halftime. Cleveland has had a disappointing start to the season, losing to New York once already, and the Knicks looked to be capitalizing again. They came out of the locker room for the second half and just kept on dominating. Nearing the end of the third quarter, they raised the lead to 23, their largest of the game, and seemingly had the game under wraps. Madison Square Garden was in hysteria. The crowd began chants of “KY-RIE IR-VING” at the Cavaliers. The Cavs were not only getting blown out, but being plain embarrassed. For the briefest of moments, New York forgot that the Knicks are the Knicks and that LeBron is LeBron and that when those two meet the game is never over.
The Cavs came roaring back in the fourth, relying on LeBron James and Kyle Korver. Cleveland poured in 43 points in the fourth, decimated the enourmous lead, and won the game 104-101. The Cavaliers came back to finish the largest comeback of the young NBA season, and New York’s taunts and jeers went from proud and boastful to silly and embarrassing in 12 minutes of game play.
The astounding thing about this loss come from looking at the win probability projections for the game. According to NBA Reddit, The Knicks hit their highest win probability with :57 left in the third quarter. With a 75-56 lead, Channing Frye committed a foul and sent New York to a 99.2 percent chance of winning the game at hand.
Read that number again. 99.2 percent.
With just a sliver of hope, Cleveland took that .8 percent and shoved in down New York’s throat in style.
Cleveland certainly still has a lot to figure out, but when they decide they want to win, they’re certainly hard to keep down. Even with a 99.2 percent chance of winning.
The Cavs have now evened the season series against the Knicks, and they don’t face each other again until April, but New York will remember this one for a long time. The attempt at revenge next time around will be fun to watch.