The only thing that can be done with this game is exactly what Carmelo Anthony said after it: “Don’t let it linger.”
“We have the opportunity to go on the road and do something good,” he added. “I just want to put this one behind us.”
This was a challenge for the Knicks (12-10) on many levels, starting with the fact that it was against the defending champions and an annoyed LeBron James, who had a personal exchange with Phil Jackson through the media over the past month. Add to it that the Knicks were without Derrick Rose (back spasms) and coming into the second game of a tough back-to-back after Tuesday night’s win in Miami.
This is a game Gregg Popovich might have sat some of his main players, but when you’re a franchise that is trying to establish a winning culture, that’s a difficult one to explain to your fan base and the media.
The only stats that matter from this game is the record 22 three-pointers the Cavaliers hit in the game. That’s the most in their franchise history and the most the Knicks have ever allowed in a game in their franchise history. The Cavs played at a pace and intensity at both ends of the floor that the Knicks just couldn’t match. And if this game was supposed to be a litmus test for their encouraging start run of 8 wins in their previous 11 games, it proved, as Jeff Hornacek said, “we’re the same as the first game of the season.”
What the Knicks now need to prove is they have the mental toughness to get over this loss at home and get back to stacking up wins.
Rose had an MRI on his back and it turned up without any structural issues, so we’ll see if he will be available for the West Coast road trip that begins Friday in Sacramento. Coverage begins at 10 p.m. on MSG Network.