Game Thread

2023 Playoff Thread – The Little Knicks Team That Couldn’t vs. Cavaliers, Game 4

The Knicks continue their futile attempt to make the second round of the NBA playoffs today with Game 4 of their first round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Knicks won Game 3 using the clever strategy of having Elfrid Payton wear Darius Garland’s jersey and shoot a bunch of shots (similar to how the Minnesota Timberwolves let Mark Madsen shoot a bunch of threes that time they were trying to tank their way into keeping their first round pick).

The Knicks, though, are smart. They don’t like to just lose, they want to lose in the most painful way possible, so they cleverly came up with the idea of taking a 2-1 lead in this series to give their fans hope, so that when the Knicks inevitably lose this series, it will hurt even more. Because make no mistake about it, the Knicks are going to find a way to lose this game.

It starts with Quentin Grimes missing Game 4, and it will end, I presume, with Jalen Brunson’s leg exploding and his leg bone stabbing Immanuel Quickley in the ACL. Or perhaps Mitch’s shoelaces will somehow get entangled in every other players’ sneakers, causing one gigantic collective sprained ankle. I don’t know HOW it will happen, just that it WILL happen.

But hey, if you get off on watching the Knicks lose, then this game will be for you.

Let’s go, Knicks, not that it matters, since they are doomed.

392 replies on “2023 Playoff Thread – The Little Knicks Team That Couldn’t vs. Cavaliers, Game 4”

Somehow I am in a TJ Max right now….

Not sure how this happens. It’s like my wife doesn’t think I should be a Knicks fan.

Owen just tell your wife:
“Fygame” and return home to watch the game!

Me still at work!!! Dammmm

No chance we win this most important game of the last ~20 years. But let’s go anyway!!!

RJ going up strong as hell instead of throwing up some weak garbage? I’ve truly seen it all.


Really need Julius to have a good game for his own mental health.

Randle needs to make a shot to regain confidence

Or he needs to stop shooting…

Well it appears Good Barrett is here again.

Meanwhile, Julius recognized the ketamine is still coursing through his system so he’s passing the ball (when he’s not dribbling it off his foot).

The canadian kid whose name can’t be pronounced during the game is very aggressive and I like it for now…

I can’t really call him “Bad Julius” because I actually don’t mind his shot selection at all. This is “Good Process, Bad Results Julius” IMO.

JVG is having a lot of opinions i don’t agree with. The atmosphere at the Garden doesn’t rattle the opponents!? 😮

Randle might be the worst postseason player in any sport I’ve ever seen.

JVG is having a lot of opinions i don’t agree with. The atmosphere at the Garden doesn’t rattle the opponents!? 😮

Totally. And he just said, “I don’t think they were rattled. They just lost their poise, and were too frenetic” hahaha — i.e. rattled.

I don’t think it’s in Randle’s head, I just think it’s hard to come back from a season-ending injury in rhythm

Cleveland repeatedly getting bailed out by the refs this quarter

Randle might be the worst postseason player in any sport I’ve ever seen.

Worst 1st round postseason player… you wait for the 2nd round Randle and you’ll see! 😛

I mean, if RJ doesn’t suck, that sort of changes all of the priors for the Knicks, right?

The Knicks are playing well, but the Cavs also have just completely collapsed. Between this and the Osman on Jalen one-on-one nonsense, Bickerstaff has to be really questioning himself right now. The Cavs look really poorly coached at the moment. Like they were not prepared for any of this.

The Cavs look really poorly coached at the moment.

On the contrary, the Cavs look excellent, and they should continue to do exactly what they are doing.

I fucking love tampering and trading a protected first for the best friend of the guy we tampered for

Donovan Mitchell isn’t close to worth the package the Cavs gave up for him.

Between this and the Osman on Jalen one-on-one nonsense, Bickerstaff has to be really questioning himself right now.

I don’t know why, but i’m imagining Aaron Paul when i read this… YOU HAVE TO ASK YOURSELF… 😀

Great 1st quarter but feel like we should be up more than 7 pts.

On cue… 🙂

When Deuce and Obi are hitting threes on you, you know you’re fucked (at least you would know that if you didn’t know the Knicks were doomed).

We need some separation. Can’t let these guys hang around.

Deuce ready to play today, for sure. If only Thibs had thought to let him cover Trae Young ….

IQ dropping his extension contract each shot he misses. He’s playing very poorly. No confidence.

OMG, while they were saying Okoro and Mitchell for the next FG, i said “Quickley 3P”… i was really close!

Shocked with thibs letting deuce get this much burn. Thibs is actually learning. That stubborn old coot.

I predicted a 75% chance of losing both games 3-4 and a 100% chance of losing one. Having won game 3, this unfortunately means that we have a 100% chance of losing this game.

The Cavs are cleverly employing a rope-a-dope strategy where they look disorganized and incompetent against even our reserves, only to lull us into eating a 25-0 run in the third quarter. Don’t be fooled!

To the uninitiated, it would seem as if Tom Thibodeau’s main job was to shout “c’mon, man!”

While they’re inevitably going to win, the Cavs seem to have just checked out of the game. It’s insane. They’re just letting the Knicks fuck with them. It’s awesome (if not for the Knicks’ impending doom, of course).

Hey, look! — Jalen Brunson just torched Donovan Mitchell again.

E was abducted by aliens, and the alien that is commenting on his account is a big improvement. 😀

They’re hunting Mitchell in the PnR it’s so beautiful

We really aren’t getting the calls. Obi’s foul came because of a moving screen by Allen.

Hard to pick my favorite Knick right now.

Brunson. No, Hart. MITCH! no, Brunson

It’s incredible how well the Knicks are playing considering how awful Randle and IQ have been offensively.

Concerns about Mitchell Robinson’s role on a playoff team were perhaps a tad overblown

Thanks for checking, Noble. I was too happy to type.

This is fun. Too bad we’re doomed.

Jalen, man. Show us!

Only IQ not joining the party, but he’s playing good D.

Cavs seem terrible. They can’t play this bad forever. That three from Brunson falling was beautiful.

Is this what it feels like to be Atlanta two years ago when you realize you’re the clearly better team

JB is simply better than Spida. It’s really no more complicated than that.

Doomed as the Knicks are of course.

I understand the “depth doesn’t matter in the playoffs” conventional wisdom but it’s not looking so hot right now

I understand the “depth doesn’t matter in the playoffs” conventional wisdom but it’s not looking so hot right now

Well, i think no one defended no depth at all, like the Cavs, or have they?

To give the Cavs some credit, when your team revolves around your starters, essentially losing one of your starters (like them with Garland clearly playing hurt) is obviously devastating. Look at how the Chicago Bulls went from the best record in the Eastern Conference to garbage when they lost Lonzo Ball (with a similar team built around the starting lineup).

Awful foul by Quickley, but I did not have “very good, extended Obi Toppin minutes in the playoffs” on my bingo card.

Hart…what more can you say?

Josh Hart must demoralize the other team, having to deal with him, he’s everywhere

The Cavs are doing their best to help by missing way too many free throws.

Brunson feeling himself a little too much there

On the replay, though, it’s clear the spacing didn’t help, Randle and RJ not in good spots

The Knicks are just pushing them around on the glass. I love it. The Knicks will inevitably lose, but while they are winning, it is fun watching them punk the Cavs.

That looked offensive by Osman?

RJ my man, hit the damn free throws.

Hideous Randle shot.

Seriously, Mitch is something else

RJ, if he shot 85% from the line, would be so much more palatable. Doing good stuff today at least

Randle and IQ are playing for the Cavs, the canadian kid is 4-8 from the line and we’re still up.

I’m scared 😀

I’m gonna guess second half will be Knicks vs. Spida.

We’re doomed.

The funny thing is that Randle and IQ haven’t shown up, and yet they’re still destroying them. The Cavs will inevitably win, but boy, this is an embarrassing performance by them. That’s now two games in a row that the Cavs haven’t even arrived to play. Game 1 they also missed a lot of easy shots, but they clearly were at least competitive. Not so much these last two games.

Tough end to the half, but Mitch and iHart have both been spectacular. Let’s get Julius and IQ going. (*That Canadian guy hasn’t been killing us as usual, so that helps ;-))

Not as good as it could be, but on the other hand we’ve been pretty dominant inside. Cavs need to get hot from the perimeter to get the inevitable win and confirm that the Knicks are doomed.

The Cavs depth isn’t hurting them as much as a lack of any offensive options beyond Donovan and Garland. Allen & Mobley are just as much to blame.

Had to turn off the halftime show because I found myself agreeing with Stephen A.

Had to turn off the halftime show because I found myself agreeing with Stephen A.

LOL! OMG, i thought we had more time until the end of the world! 😀

Alright I’m over the bad ending to the half, still in a great spot up 9 lets finish this.

I want RJ to play well enough for a trade RJ + picks for Mikal to be possible/logical.

Some shaky moments but the Knicks are playing their game. Lots of offensive rebounds, low turnovers, 14 more FGA than Cleveland.

Alright I’m over the bad ending to the half, still in a great spot up 9 lets finish this.

That’s the spirit. We just need to be up 1 in the end. 😉

The Cavs depth isn’t hurting them as much as a lack of any offensive options beyond Donovan and Garland. Allen & Mobley are just as much to blame.

Yeah, they really need to use their MLE this offseason to acquire an offensive-minded 3 or 4. Someone like a Gallo.

Julius needs to draw some contact and fouls. IQ needs to make wide open shots.

Randle is the best player on the Cavs.

I think we’ve seen enough. Against the Hawks, you could argue he was constantly doubled and really had no chance to play well. Game #1 and #2 of this series he was recovering his wind, legs and shot from the injury. At this point, there are no excuses. So far, he can’t handle the heat.

Stephen A and Rama jinxed us at the half…

Some bad juju there.

randle was holding up somewhat on defense in game 3 despite his shot not falling. today has been a more well rounded disaster.

“I want RJ to play well enough for a trade RJ + picks for Mikal to be possible/logical.”

That’s not happening. Mikal is going to be a core piece to the Nets rebuild. They’ll consolidate some of their other wings.

The Cavs are cleverly employing a rope-a-dope strategy where they look disorganized and incompetent against even our reserves, only to lull us into eating a 25-0 run in the third quarter. Don’t be fooled!

Sorry guys, knew this was coming in my bones.

Guys put on their lead sneakers at half time

Also, why is Bronny in a Fast X commercial?

Apparently they thought a 9 point lead meant they could check out the rest of the game.

Randle totally comatose these first couple minutes. Terrible defense all around but especially from Julius

It’s also extremely annoying how they bitch every time they miss a shot. Hey back on defense.

Put in Obi stat

Or just put in STAT. Couldn’t be worse than Ju at this point.

What the fuck was Randle doing on that Garland and-1?

The body language and energy has not been good this quarter. If they blow this game, at the very least, the problems will be obvious to Rose. He’ll know what he has to try to do in the off season.

Worst third quarter of the season maybe but the foul trouble of Mobley Garland and Mitchell will be huge

As Garland goes, so goes the Cavs, I guess. Force him to take jumpers, maybe.

They were always going to make a run, let’s dig deep. Kind of want to see Quickley here.

I think we are missing Grimes a bit.

Hart is the better all around player, but having those extra fresh legs around helps our bench vs. their bench.

I think Thibs has been mostly great but Brunson definitely needed some rest this quarter

We’re the better team when we’re aggressive and pushing the pace. They’re better when it slows down.

IQ has gone deathly cold but he’s +9 and that’s because he’s an insane defender

Randle looks like his clock has switched and he has already entered his down year. He has to turn it around.

The combo of Randle and Brunson on D has been horrific.

Sometimes JB keeps the ball too much…

And then he and Barrett overslept on LeVert OReb…

Big 3 point play for RJ. Nice to see him have another good game.

I haven’t had a drink all day, but this game is getting to me. I may at least need a couple of beers soon.

RJ just needs to keep attacking and getting into the paint.

Going at Mobley is my preferred choice

Starting to remember why I have always hated LeVert no matter which team he’s been on.

I’m taking my son to see Bikini Kill tonight, so no alcohol for me during this game. Watching totally sober!

The Cavs have us right where they want us.

We are doomed!!!

(just trying to help)

A narrative floating around I kind of believe is that the Randle injury helped Obi get in rhythm. He’s absolutely met the moment.

Randle himself, on the other hand…

Seeing one playoff game courtside is on my bucket list

Edit: I’d take more if they were offered

I’m know I’ve tried to temper enthusiasm over Obi’s versatility and late season stats, but we should keep him. He brings energy and is not afraid of the moment.

Depth is good. We can go to the bench when starters are playing bad, Cavs… not so much!

TNFH, definitely agree. That time off for Randle helped Obi get big chunks of minutes for the first time since…. I don’t know, the end of last season?

That was indeed a travel by Hart, but it would have been great for RJ’s 3 to count

It was a travel, guys. Too bad, was a potentially huge moment, but now it’s still a game.

Foster loves the sound of his own whistle, but that was travelling.

That was only traveling in a league that calls traveling according to the rules like NY CYO.

J-Hart travelled but the offensive call on I-Hart was criminal…

J-Hart with a basket and an assist for JB’s three!!!

RJ thinks he’s the king of the neighborhood
I got news for you — he is!

Hart is a demon on the offensive boards! He’s a difference maker. Huge props to Leon Rose for that trade. Who was it we traded for him? Cam something or other? It was worth giving up a protected 1st round pick for him.

Thibs has coached an incredible game and honestly has hit all the right notes for the series.

He traveled before the pass, Strat. Was obvious if you see the replay.

I’m not arguing with the call. I’m arguing the consistency of the call in the league. Players get away with worse than that every game.

You guys are celebrating, and I’m here thinking we are still doomed with 40 seconds to play.

Too early to have subbed in Deuce for Brunson on D, but… Would have been nice not to give up a wide open corner 3

When was the last time RJ has played this well in back to back games?



So many guys stepped up in the heat of the moment, it’s incredible, I think I’m dreaming…

I think I just saw Larry Johnson giving RJ a pep talk on his way off the court…cool…

What a fourth quarter. We’d be subjected to another Gentleman’s Sweep if not for Josh Hart…

Heat Knicks round 2, so close!

RJ deserves a ton of credit. If we only get a few weeks of good RJ a year, I’ll take em now.

May have to get a Josh Hart tattoo if we win a chip.

Thibs did a great job. Randle’s unhappiness is a given, but that was the right unit to finish the game.

I’m so into this run that I’m intentionally not changing the channel away from Stephen A

it may be a plank walk but you can’t beat
the scenery

If ever there were a year where there might be a lifeboat at the end of that plank, this is it. Some tough injuries with the Heat and Bucks make it at least possible there's more ball to be played…

Except of course that we're doomed. Doooommed

A lot of credit to RJ and Thibs, both were fantastic today, Thibs has shown the versatility with the lineups we were all asking for and really understood the flow of the game, and RJ was great going downhill and keeping us afloat. Brunson also, just a consummate leader and the calming presence we need him to be.

Also just give Josh Hart a blank piece of paper, let him write whatever numbers he wants for his contract and sign him up, the PERFECT glue guy.

I am facing a fan ethical dilemma in terms of game 5, as I just got free tickets to game 6.

I kid, I kid, I will be rooting for the Knicks hard, but not a bad silver lining.

We need Grimes back and we have to get Quick going on offense and we can put this away next game.

To paraphrase Ted Lasso: He’s here! He’s there! He’s every-fucking-where! JOSH HART!

Ranlde was benched because of his (non)defense. You can live with him not making his shots, but not with his lack of effort on D. Kudos to Thibs! This is the playoffs and nobody gets a discount.

Cavs coach got schooled by Thibs once again. This is a big difference in this series which has tilted for good right now.

Extend Thibs!

Benching Randle was so NOT Thibs, but he did the right thing.

Imagine paying Jarrett Allen $20M a year to grab 4 boards in 40min and get dominated by a team’s starter and backup

9-12 from 2 and finished over/around Mobley and Allen multiple times. Just a superb game from RJ.

I have been amongst the many RJ haters but he’s been the best player on the floor the last 2 games despite not shooting the 3 well – I don’t think I would ever have thought that would be possible in a tightly contested playoff series.

Just great stuff from RJ. Brunson was fine, Hart incredible, IQ great on defense but kind of a no-show on offense. Our bigs just absolutely dominated Allen and Mobley. The only downer was that that was one of the worst Randle games we’ve seen in a long time.

And what a no-show by Mitchell. Granted our D had something to do with it, but you can’t have that kind of performance down 2-1 in a series.

EB, and to have the Knicks attack the basket at will against Allen. No fear of him.

And kudos to Thibs, who has surprised us again and again this year, for going with Obi down the stretch. I honestly thought there was no chance that he would get the closing minutes.

May have to get a Josh Hart tattoo if we win a chip.

If it’s against the Kings, i’ll have a Brian tattoo! 😀

don’t want to forget those GREAT Mcbride minutes too. Really great first playoff game ever.

A great adjustment has been to get RJ the ball on the move, instead of on straight up iso situations. He seems much better when he gets the ball on the move and goes downhill, Allen and Mobley are good shot blockers but they’re not strong, they can be bullied on downhill drives.

Bickerstaff has been pantsed nearly every game. The Cavs might want to think getting a veteran in a couple of seasons to be the Phil Jackson to Bickerstaff’s Doug Collins.

I’m just realizing that Mitch had 7 OREBs (which is how many the Cavs had as a team). What a monster.

Getting closer to a dream Knicks vs Heat 2nd rd series.

It’ll never happen, since the Knicks are somehow blowing this lead, but wow, can you even fucking imagine?

Plus, of course, this remains inevitable…

Oladipo is also hurt for the Heat.

If they can manage to pull off that upset even with Giannis probably coming back, that would be huge for us. Even if he comes back, he’s rushing back a bit and will be less than 100% fit.

Wow. Knicks – Heat. I might need to get tix down here in South Florida!

It’d be different if the Warriors were still in Oakland, but the foofoo Chase Center sounds like a library compared to the Garden.

If you told me that the Knicks’ 3-pt percentage through 4 games would be 27%, 24%, 30% and 26%, I would be pretty sure they’d been swept.

17-7 edge in offensive boards, 47-33 edge in total rebounds. Only 10 turnovers. Played our game.

Easy GoNyGo, easy

Our strategy of having more good players than the other team really paid off today. Off to Lester’s I go with a smile on my face….

There’s a lot of issues with Cleveland’s gameplan right now, but one of the biggest ones has got be the no-show from the SF position. None of LeVert, Osman, or Okoro are well-rounded enough to play starters minutes. We’ve been sagging off all of them all series. I think they’re stuck

The Cavs are a young and talented group. They will get better. But they are an unfinished product in both the starting lineup and on the bench. Their problem is they gave away the store for Mitchell. So it’s not going to be that easy to fill out the rest of the team with the quality they need. If we had made that trade, it would have been worse.

Donovan Mitchell going 5-18 for 11 points with 6 turnovers is pretty damning…

Then again, Randle goes 3-10 (0-4 from three) with 2 rebounds, in 27 minutes. Obi had 8 rebounds in 20!

Hope Jules gets right by Wednesday.

Thanks, Cyber! I must admit, Hart did a damn good job on Mitchell, but I hope Thib’ll use Deuce to shut DM down if he gets hot next game (ditto Garland). Nice weapon to have in your armory.

Owen, I’m just planning ahead. Gotta prep wifey for the expense soon. Hopefully starting Wednesday.

In the postgame, Thibs implied Julius is still hurt, to the degree that some other guys wouldn’t be playing in his condition. I’m glad he at least recognized that the Obi lineup was working and just rode it for the fourth.

Meanwhile, Julius skipped out on the postgame interviews, which isn’t ideal but doesn’t necessarily speak to him being disgruntled. Maybe just embarrassed by how he played. As Mark Jackson (sigh) pointed out during the telecast, he was up on his feet cheering on the team in the fourth quarter, rather than pouting.

Thibs was doing a solid for Julius, as he should, but we should all highly doubt it’s the ankle. He shot and played just fine early in that first first quarter. With the Giannis injury, the road to the chip is totally open to my eyes, and he really needs to pick it up.

Thibs has coached circles around JB in this series. Strategically, tactically, and motivationally. It’s great to see, I’m happy for him, and kudos to him. Well-deserved.

Apparently Davion is the Mitchell the Cavs should have outbid the Knicks for.

Warriors really showed up late. Thought the Kings might do it but they sputtered out….

Wow, the Warriors barely saved their lives despite Curry doing a “Chris Webber”…

Barnes misses what could have been a series ending shot.

And the Warriors live on

Randle having one good quarter after he came back does not mean he his healed. He very well could have been riding on adrenaline that first quarter and the Cavs weren’t playing that hard to start game one.

I absolutely believe he might still be hurt.

Us closing out the next game while the heat and bucks go to 7 would be ideal.

This is a hot take, but from The Athletic:

‘Clippers, T-Wolves and Nets. The teams behind the loudest trades in recent history will likely all quietly bow out in the first round.’

I’d add the Cavs, but we’re doomed.

I don’t know, but maybe, just maybe trading for a superstar isn’t always the best way forward?

Knicks -670 to win the series, Cavs +490.

Knicks 12-1 to win the East, 33 to 1 to win the chip.

I don’t know, but maybe, just maybe trading for a superstar isn’t always the best way forward?

The Knicks didn’t just dodge a bullet not emptying the asset chest for Spida — they dodged a Trident multiple nuclear warhead intercontinental ballistic missile.

There were multiple times today when Spida was so pointlessly careless with the ball on the perimeter that he brought to mind Cam Reddish at his most ditzy.

What a great win. We are on could nine! My wife (the sports girl) called the 9-point win. I called a 6 pointer. As to Randle, it looks to me that he is still hurt and has a pretty bad wheel. He was off balance and, of course, it’s very hard to shoot with a sprained ankle. On the other hand, not too worried about his body language. He wears his heart on his sleeve, is naturally frustrated and in general reminds me of one of them old farmers near me that always seems pissed off but harvests the wheat on time and gets a third cutting on the hay.

Oh, Z-Man, I am so envious right now. Tell us all about it! Atmosphere, particular moments when the crowd went really nuts, plays that were extra cool in person, etc?

Also, how much of the Knick bench could you see from your seats? Curious if you got a look at Julius during the fourth quarter, since we’re all playing armchair psychologist/orthopedist this evening.

D’Andre Hunter was clearly inspired by RJ Barrett today. “Overpaid rookie extendees unite!”

Alan I believe Breen or JVG said that Julius was not moping on the bench and giving fives as well as cheering on the team.

Agree Bidiong, and I didn’t see Randle moping. What was weird was he wasn’t limping on the court, it was more like he was trapped in glue.

I don’t think we have to worry about him being peeved. I think we have to worry about de-gluing him by Wednesday.

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