The New York Knicks upset the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of their 2023 NBA Playoffs series by a score of 101-97. They were led by their two stars Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, as the former poured in 27 points, while the latter had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Randle was playing in his first game since sustaining an ankle injury on March 29th, and he secured a key rebound late in the fourth that led to the game-sealing free-throws from Quentin Grimes. Despite the Knicks being a lower seed and hence the win being labeled as an upset, the Knicks only finished one spot below the Cavaliers and were 3-1 against them in the regular season. In reality, this is a pretty even matchup that the Knicks probably have an upper hand in. They led for a majority of Game 1, and will look to carry that momentum into Game 2 and return to New York with a 2-0 series lead.
For the Cavaliers, they were led by star guard Donovan Mitchell and his 38 points, following up four straight 40 point performances to end the regular season. Mitchell is as hot as any player in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, although his effort was not enough to lead the Cavaliers to a comeback victory against the Knicks. Mitchell could have used a little more help from his teammates, as only two other players scored in double figures. The Cavaliers will look to have a much more well-rounded team effort in Game 2 in order to avoid going down 2-0. Overall, it should be an entertaining contest on Tuesday night, and here are 3 bold predictions for the New York Knicks in Game 2 of the 2023 NBA Playoffs vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.
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Immanuel Quickley goes for 30 points for the New York Knicks
Immanuel Quickley is the current favorite for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. In Game 1, he was far from the player he was during the regular season. After averaging 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists over 81 games this season, Quickley only had 3 points while never making a shot from the field. All of his points came from the free-throw line, and he only had 2 assists to counteract his 3 turnovers. In Game 2, Quickley is going to show why he is the favorite for sixth man of the year, as he will drop over 30 points for the sixth time this season.
Quickley is in his third year in the NBA, and posted career-high numbers across the board for the Knicks this season. He can score at all three levels of the defense, not to mention his limitless range. Quickley is going to demonstrate a short memory that is imperative for the best players, bouncing back seamlessly from his Game 1 struggles. When Game 2 comes to a close against the Cavaliers, the Knicks will be ecstatic with the 30 point outburst from Immanuel Quickley.
The Knicks shoot 50% from long range against the Cleveland Cavaliers
Albeit the win, the New York Knicks did not shoot the ball particularly well from the floor. They can owe the victory to their defense, as they were 37-88 from the field for a 42% shooting day, while posting a fairly poor 8-29 from the 3-point line, equalling a 27.6% from long range. 3 of those makes came from Julius Randle, as he was the only player on the team to make multiple 3-pointers. In Game 2 against the Cavaliers, the Knicks are going to shoot the ball a lot better and finish over 50% from the 3-point line.
Jalen Brunson’s lack of success from the 3-point line was probably the biggest shooting surprise from the Knicks in Game 1. Brunson will get back on track with multiple 3s, and the rest of the Knicks’ shooters will follow suit. Quickley and Randle should continue to pour in long balls, while Grimes and Josh Hart will nail some 3-pointers themselves. Once the game is over, the Knicks will have over 10 3s, and in total will have shot over 50% from distance.
The Knicks take Game 2, head to New York City up 2-0
The New York Knicks are going to go to Cleveland and take two games on the road from the Cavaliers. Overall, the Knicks have a more trustworthy group to score the clutch buckets that are needed to win playoff games. While the Cavaliers have Donovan Mitchell, there is no one else on the roster that inspires much confidence in the big moments. The Knicks have two elite scorers vs. the Cavaliers’ one, and this will be key once the games in this series reach the crunch time moments.
Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson will put together another strong performance, Immanuel Quickley will dominate off the bench, and strong shooting all game long will propel the Knicks to a victory. Madison Square Garden will be buzzing for Game 3 with the Knicks up 2-0 and close enough to taste themselves advancing to the next round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
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