Cavs Facing Elimination After 102-93 Loss In New York

Cleveland Cavaliers v New York Knicks - Game Four

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Isaac Okoro #35 and Evan Mobley #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers sit on the bench in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks during Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 23, 2023 in New York City. The New York Knicks defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-93.Photo: Elsa/Getty Images

Game Four did not start promising for the Cavs, less than 48 hours after scoring 79 points in their Game Three loss - their lowest scoring output this season. Today the Cavs trailed 30-23 after the first quarter, and by as many as 15 points in the first half, 46-31 at one point. However the Cavs closed the half on a 14-9 run to pull within 9 points, 54-45. Evan Mobley scored a team-high 10 in the first, Evan Mobley led with 10 in the first half, followed by Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen with nine apiece.

Darius Garland scored two points in 14 first-half minutes after picking up three fouls, but came out with a vengeance. He scored 11 of his 21 second half points in the third quarter and assisted on 11 as the Cavs opened the quarter on a 21-9 run and outscored the Knicks 26-19 in the frame. His second alley-oop to Jarrett Allen with 6:27 to go in the third quarter gave the Cavs their first lead, 63-61. About a minute later, Garland made a driving layup into the Knicks' defense, got fouled, and completed an and-one to put the Cavs ahead 66-63, Cleveland's largest lead.

While Garland carried the Cavs' offense in the second half, Donovan Mitchell struggled shooting overall. Despite playing 42 minutes, Mitchell scored nine first-half points, but just two in the second half, and not until late in the fourth quarter when the Cavs were down by nine. Meanwhile, Jalen Brunson, his counterpart who scored a game-high 29 points, hit a go-ahead three at the end of the third to put them ahead 73-71. For several minutes the teams traded baskets, but up 81-77, the Knicks orchestrated a 13-8 run and extended their lead to 94-85 with 2:27 to go. Down nine at the 2:13 mark, Mitchell scored his only second-half points to bring the Cavs within seven, but never got any closer as the Knicks closed out Game Four, successfully defending home court through the weekend.

For the Cavs, starters Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen each had 14 points, and Evan Mobley added 12. Off the bench, Cedi Osman and Isaac Okoro combined for 19 (10 and 9, respectively). For the Knicks, RJ Barrett scored 26 and Josh Hart added 19. Mitchell Robinson notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. The Cavs were out-rebounded 47-33, surrendered 17 offensively, and were outscored 21-12 in second chance points. The Cavs also allowed 17 offensive rebounds in Game One's 101-97 home loss, their slimmest margin of defeat in the series. In each loss, the Cavs have been out-rebounded and have scored fewer than 100 points.

Including games three and four the Cavs are 0-4 at Madison Square Garden this season. Facing a 3-1 deficit and playoff elimination, the Cavs will need to be victorious at home on Wednesday at 7:00 to force Game Six on Friday in New York.

Only 13 teams in NBA history have overcome a 3-1 deficit, including the Cavs in the 2016 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. However, no team after that has overcome a 3-1 deficit since the Denver Nuggets did so twice in the 2020 NBA Bubble. They defeated the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers en route to the Western Conference Finals before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers - the eventual champions.

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