Tuesday 12 December 2017 / 09:36 AM

CAVS v KNICKS: SEASON-OPENER ANALYSIS

Following the championship ring ceremony, the Cleveland Cavaliers made light work of the New York Knicks with a 117-88 win. The night went as most people expected with the Cavs saluting, but to blow out the Knicks in the first game of the season is starting things off right. The mismatch was pretty telling for both sides.

Late in the fourth quarter, you saw the guys that the New York Knicks fans think are the chosen lot to bring them a championship hanging their heads in a gloomy shame. To give credit to the Knicks, this was not an easy game to go into. You’ve got the 2016 champions, who just gave their thank-you speeches to 20,000-plus fans in their own house. If the Knicks somehow won, this next week in basketball news would be completely different – but that is just not the case.

LeBron got his first triple-double in a season opener with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 14 assists. This accolade doesn’t really carry that much weight since LeBron can essentially get a triple-double with his eyes closed, but it is still an accomplishment nonetheless. What is interesting is that in a winning tally of 117, Lebron only had 16% of the points. You know the NBA is in trouble when you’ve got the league’s best player, and arguably the greatest player of all time, playing to build his teammates up. James almost had more assists than points, and that says something.

Kyrie Irving put up 19 of his 29 points in the third quarter and ignited a 20-4 run to sprint past the Knicks to 74-53. This iswhat “putting on the burners” looks like: a third quarter explosion that can’t be recouped in the final term. The Cavaliers had the game the entire way and it looks like they were just toying with the Knicks until deciding to get to business. Kevin Love chipped in with 23 points – but that total featured nine free-throws.

Everybody on the Cavaliers team was still celebrating their 2016 Championship win at the end of their ravaging of the Knicks. Well, maybe everyone except Iman Shumpert, who is likely doing treadmill drills and trying not to throw up. Shumpert got into a human car-wreck with Knicks Center Kristaps Porzingis and had to leave the game. He did not return and is rumored to have a concussion.

The Knicks were relatively quiet all game. Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose had 19 and 17 points respectively. Porzingis had a pretty scrappy game with 16 points. Although the team is loaded with talent, the Knicks did not demonstrate any sort of imposing presence on the reigning champions.

Making the playoffs might be a good goal to start off with for the Knicks since they were unable to make the playoffs for the past three seasons. Granted, they are a much better team than last year, but they won’t be coming anywhere near that 2017 trophy by the looks of tonight.

Luckily for the Knicks, they played their toughest game for the next couple weeks today and the rest should be smoother sailing. They will face the Grizzlies at Madison Square Garden this Saturday and will hopefully give their fans something to ogle at.

Their next high-stakes games are against the Rockets on November 2nd, Bulls on November 4th, and Celtics on November 11th. The Bulls game will be especially interesting since it will be in Chicago. Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah will face off against their former team, which is now led by Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, and Rajon Rondo.

The Cavs have easy, very winnable games as far as the eye can see. The game everybody is waiting for is the Cavaliers-Warriors heavyweight matchup on Christmas Day.

[YouTube – NBA]

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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