The New York Knicks lost Game 2 of their first round matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 2023 NBA Playoffs got off to a good start for the Knicks, as they beat the Knicks 101-97 in Game 1 in a tightly contested affair. The Cavs flipped the script in Game 2, controlling the majority of the game on their way to a dominating 107-90 win. The Cavs were led by a signature playoff performance in the young career of Darius Garland, as he had 32 points and 7 assists. He also went a scorching hot 6/10 from the 3-point line. The majority of the Cavs scoring otherwise came via 17 points from Donovan Mitchell and 24 points off the bench from Caris Levert. It was a well-rounded team effort by the Cavs in securing their first win of the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
On the other hand, the Knicks struggled from the floor across the board. Star Jalen Brunson went 5/17 from the field, including 1/8 from long range on his way to a modest 20 points. Julius Randle had a slightly better shooting performance at 8/20, but his 22 points was also nothing to write home about. Overall, the Knicks shot 36.7% in contrast with the Cavs 49.4%, and thus were simply outpaced all game long. Going back to New York for Game 3, the Knicks will hope to put forth a performance more reminiscent of Game 1.
Game 3 will be essential in determining the direction of the rest of this series, as both teams know their chances of advancing in the 2023 NBA Playoffs skyrocket with a 2-1 lead. With that, here are 3 bold predictions specifically for the New York Knicks in Game 3 vs. the Cavs.
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*Stats via ESPN
Immanuel Quickley breaks out for the New York Knicks
Immanuel Quickley is currently the favorite for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. However, through two games in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, he hasn’t shown why. After averaging 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists over 81 games in the regular season, those numbers have halved in the postseason. Quickley is currently averaging 7.5 points, 2.0 rebounds. and 1.5 assists, while uncharacteristically shooting 16.7% from the 3-point line. He was a 37.0% percent shooter from deep in the regular season, and cannot be happy with his playoff performance so far. Fortunately for Quickley, a return to New York will bring home cooking.
In Game 3 at Madison Square Garden, Quickley is going to go for 25 points off the bench. His shot is going to return to form on his way to drilling multiple 3-pointers, and he is going to have a plethora of highlight plays in both halves. Quickley has proven he has the ability to score at all three levels, and he will demonstrate that in Game 3. It will be a welcomed sight for Knicks fans, as they are patiently waiting the breakout performance from Immanuel Quickley that will erupt in Game 3.
The Knicks drop 120 points on the Cleveland Cavaliers
Scoring has come at a premium in this series for both teams. Out of the 16 teams in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, the Cavs are ranked 13th at 102.0 points per game, while the Knicks are 14th at 95.0 points per game. The only teams below the Knicks are the Brooklyn Nets playing a stout Philadelphia 76ers defense, and the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have yet to play a Game 2. The Knicks need to step up their game on the offensive side of the ball, and are hoping a return home will spur a scoring outburst. Madison Square Garden will welcome the Knicks offense into the 2023 NBA Playoffs, as they will score over 120 points against the Cavs.
The Knicks will score in many facets in Game 3, starting with the 3-pointer. Hitting shots from deep will open up the paint and free guys up around the perimeter, and all of the sudden the Knicks will be finding open looks all over the floor. MSG will be rocking and stay rocking, as the Knicks will start hot and remain efficient throughout the game. As the fourth comes to a close in Game 3, the Knicks will eclipse 120 points on the scoreboard.
The Knicks blowout the Cavs
The offensive explosion by the Knicks will benefit them on both sides of the ball. Better scoring will energize the crowd, and thus motivate the team to put on a show in all aspects of the game. They will be tenacious on defense, and continue the intensity they have displayed protecting their basket through two games.
With the defense the Knicks have already shown in this series, they will become a truly formidable squad once the offense gets going. In Game 3, they will finally shoot the ball well as a team and put up a crooked number in the score sheet. This will not only give them a win in Game 3, but they will blowout the Cavs from start to finish.