Knicks execs Steve Mills and Scott Perry apologize for poor performances after dismal blowout loss to Cavaliers at the Garden

New York Daily News Sports 1 week ago

Any good vibes from beating Kristaps Porzingis dissipated the moment the Knicks stepped on their home floor.

That’s when they reminded New York the Knicks aren’t very good.

Two days following their emotional victory in Dallas, the Knicks laid an egg in Sunday’s 108-87 loss to the rebuilding Cavaliers. Notably, James Dolan left his seat at halftime and didn’t return until the start of the fourth quarter. Steve Mills and Scott Perry also left their seats around halftime but never returned. After the game, the pair stepped up to the podium postgame and apologized for the Knicks’ poor product, but reiterated that they still have confidence in Fizdale.

“We have patience and we believe in coach but we also we need to find a way to have a consistent level of play and effort," Mills said.

Knicks ineptitude is now a trend at MSG. Last season they lost 18 straight at home and went 9-32 overall. This season, they’ve suffered three blowout losses in four games at the Garden. Sunday night was a wire-to-wire defeat to the Cavs (4-5), who led by as many as 30 in the third quarter and never conceded control.

The fans booed. One angry fan screamed about David Fizdale and the awful offense. Another day at the Garden.

Collin Sexton went off for the Cavaliers with 31 points in just 30 minutes. The Knicks shot just 36 percent. RJ Barrett continued to struggle as the opposition has better scouting reports.

Cavs guard Collin Sexton drives against Frank Ntilikina during the second half.
Cavs guard Collin Sexton drives against Frank Ntilikina during the second half. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

In the last three games, Barrett missed 23 of his 32 shot attempts.

“We’ve been showing him a lot of film, some night you’ve got to decoy. While you’re still getting in the paint, attacking, keep your vision working and look to find guys on the weak side when you draw a lot of attention,” Fizdale said. “Obviously he impacts the game from a rebounding standpoint still. He gets assists and does different things to help you win. We just get into the film and show him, ‘This is how a team’s playing you. These are the opportunities that are going to be available for you. Keep taking your pull-up shot, your open threes.’ And some nights, the ball just won’t fall.”

The Knicks fell to 2-8 and looked as bad as last season’s march to the bottom of the standings.

The court actually arrived late because the Rangers played an overtime game in the afternoon and the MSG crew — one of the best in the business — had to transform from ice to hardwood in short order.

Then the Knicks failed to arrive at all. They scored just 36 points in the first half while committing 12 turnovers. Fizdale went with the same starting lineup that beat Dallas, with Frank Ntilkina at point guard and Taj Gibson at center. But neither produced.

Ntilikina reverted back to being passive and inefficient offensively, scoring just four points on four shots in 31 minutes. Gibson played 17 minutes, allowing Bobby Portis to come off the bench and miss 8 of 10 shot attempts.

Mitchell Robinson missed his second straight game with a concussion and will also sit Tuesday’s game in Chicago, according to the team.

Dennis Smith Jr. and Reggie Bullock both returned to the bench following the death of close relatives. However, both were in street clothes. Bullock hasn’t played at all after undergoing offseason back surgery. Smith Jr. needs more practice time after taking 12 days off, Fizdale said.

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