The Cleveland Cavaliers had a disappointing loss to the New York Knicks in Game 1. The Cavs fell 103-97 in a game where Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Isaac Okoro saw their first playoff action. Garland, Mobley, and Okoro struggled in their first playoff game.
Garland finished with 17 points, zero rebounds, one assist, and five turnovers. He has been a dynamic playmaker all season long, and finishing with only one assist was shocking. The Cavs will need him to pick up the playmaking for the rest of the season, as he is their initiator. While he isn’t a rebounder, getting zero in a game won’t get it done.
Mobley also struggled, as he only had eight points and shot 4-13 from the field. He was able to crash the glass, finishing with 11 rebounds. Okoro is the Cavs’ primary wing defender, but he struggled offensively. He shot 1-6 from the field and 0-4 from behind the arc. They need him to knock down the open looks he gets from three at a good clip to help the offense improve.
Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen led Cleveland in this game. Mitchell had a phenomenal performance, finishing with 38 points, five rebounds, eight assists, three steals, and a block. Allen had 14 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists, shooting 6-8 from the field.
The Cavs will need others to step up in the rest of the series if they want to take down the Knicks. Jalen Brunson led the way with 27 points, while Josh Hart was very productive off the bench with 17 points and ten rebounds.
Julius Randle had a decent game, with 19 points and ten rebounds. RJ Barrett struggled heavily offensively as he had seven points and shot 2-12. The Cavs can’t count on Randle and Barrett not improving in Game 2.
With that said, here are three adjustments Cleveland must make after the Game 1 upset loss to Knicks.
Get Darius Garland involved early
While Garland struggled in Game 1, he is an elite point guard. It was his first playoff action, and it was evident that the nerves got to him. However, he is a talented player that averaged 21.6 points and 7.8 assists in the regular season.
He is a very talented point guard and is the key to running their offense. It was a very defensive game, as Cleveland only put up 97 points. The Cavs will need Garland to get it going early in the game. While he can create on isolation plays, it would be easier to find his shot and playmaking by running pick-and-roll action. This will allow the game to come to him, as he can get the ball to the bigs or find his own shot.
Get Evan Mobley involved early
Mobley is another one of Cleveland’s best players that they need to get going in Game 2. Like Garland, Mobley most likely dealt with playoff nerves in his first career playoff game. In Game 2, they could also look to get Mobley going more in pick-and-roll action. Once he sees the ball go in the basket, he should have a better rhythm for the rest of the series.
Crash the glass
One of the main problems in the loss for Cleveland was losing the rebounding battle. The Knicks dominated the rebound battle as they had 51 rebounds to the Cavs’ 38. In Game 2, Cleveland needs to do a much better job crashing the glass, as it will make a huge difference.
The Cavs have a lot of adjustments they need to make heading into Game 2. They will look to improve and even up the series 1-1.