Don’t look now, but the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to be for real. On Sunday night at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks(6-4), the Cavaliers got a fantastic performance from Ricky Rubio, who had a double-double with a career-high 37 points to go along with 10 assists, as Cleveland defeated New York 126-109.
The Cavs(7-4) have now won four straight, including three consecutive wins on the road.
Here is the Great, Not so Great, and Bottom Line of Cleveland’s big win in New York City.
The Great for the Cavaliers:
-Ricky Rubio was excellent last night. Rubio scored 26 of his career-high 37 points in the second half and dished out 10 assists off the bench. Rubio was 13/19 from the field, including career-high eight threes on 8/9 from downtown. Rubio, who started the third quarter for an injured Collin Sexton, was 4/4 from downtown in the third quarter and scored 12 points, and he added 14 more points in the fourth.
According to StatMuse, Rubio is the first player in NBA history with 30-plus points, 10-plus assists, eight-plus threes in a game off the bench.
-Rookie Evan Mobley was also excellent last night. In his debut at MSG, Mobley had a career-high 26 PTS (11-15 FG, 2-4 3FG), nine rebounds, five assists, a steal, and a block. According to the Cavs, he is the first rookie to record 26-plus points, nine-plus rebounds, five-plus assists, and 73% from the field in a single game since Blake Griffin.
-Jarrett Allen is earning all his money and then some. He scored 18 points and grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds. Allen was also named Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday for the first time in his career. During the Cavs’ winning streak, Allen is averaging 20.5 points on .633 shooting from the field, an NBA-best 16.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.3 blocks in 37.0 minutes per contest. He was the only player in the NBA to average at least 20.0 points and 15.0 rebounds last week and had the highest field goal percentage among any NBA player who averaged 20 points or more.
-Darius Garland added 15 points(4/5 3PT) and dished out five assists.
-Third Quarter: Cleveland trailed 57-56 at halftime. However, they outscored New York 33 to 18 in the third quarter. The Cavaliers shot 57% from the field, including (6/7)85% from downtown. They held the Knicks to 32% shooting, including(1/9) 11% from three-point range. The Cavs took an 89-75 lead into the fourth.
Not So Great for the Cavaliers:
-Collin Sexton left in the second quarter with a knee injury, and on Monday, it was revealed that he had a meniscus tear in his left knee. At this point, he will undergo an additional evaluation, after which time his status will be updated.
-Cleveland had 17 turnovers on Sunday night. That number is too high, but they can worry about that another night.
The Cavaliers have beaten some good teams this season on the road, including wins over the Knicks, Nuggets, Raptors, and Clippers, which is impressive. Now, they have an opportunity to rack up some more wins as eight of their next nine games are at home.
Hopefully, going forward, they can get Kevin Love(Health and Safety Protocols), Lauri Markkanen(Health and Safety Protocols), and Isaac Okoro(hamstring) back soon.
“We know where we can go,” Bickerstaff said. “There’s a depth to this team that we know we can get to. That’s all about the scrap. That’s how we turn it up.”
Cleveland returns home Wednesday night against the Wizards.
Best of the Rest:
On Sunday night, the Knicks had six players in double figures led by Julius Randle, who scored 19 points to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists; Derrick Rose added 17 points and five assists.
Listen below as Mobley, Allen, and Rubio react to Cleveland’s win over the Knicks: