BY DAVID THORPE
The NBA Playoffs are in full gear, and this past weekend gave us a little bit of everything: some down-to-the-wire finishes, a couple not-so-shocking upsets, even a get-off-our-floor blowout.
Without further ado, here’s my take on each Game 1.
The Knicks play bully ball
Researching this series, I was surprised to see how poorly the Cavs had been rebounding defensively over the final third of the season. The Knicks are bullies on the glass, and I wondered whether the Cavs could make the proper adjustments to ensure they wouldn’t get beat up in that category. That chance became a reality in Game 1. The Knicks dominated the offensive boards, including this one, which resulted in a foul, two made free throws, and a Knicks win.
Priority One for the Cavaliers has to be keeping Knicks players off the glass in Game 2 (and beyond). Giving extra shots to the Pistons is weatherable; giving extra shots to the league’s fifth-best offense is a disaster.
Without a doubt, Cavs coaches were already emphasizing rebounding, but the playoffs are more than game prep and adjustments by coaches. Players have to prioritize and focus on rebounding fundamentals—no easy task for the Cavs considering how well the Knicks have played on offense this season. Nevertheless, getting stops shouldn’t be the goal for the Cavs in Game 2; getting the ball back should be.
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