“Right from the get-go we shared the ball, we had 20-some assists,” Cleveland coach John Beilein said. “We only had 12 turnovers and we forced them into 21 turnovers, and they only shot 35%.
“Both ends of the floor, I think this was one of our better performances.”
The Knicks couldn’t say the same.
Julius Randle had 20 points and 16 rebounds and Alonzo Trier added 13 points for New York, which fell to 2-8, last in the Eastern Conference.
“Obviously, (GM) Scott (Perry) and I are not happy with where we are right now,” Knicks President Steve Mills said following the loss. “We think the team is not performing to the level that we anticipated or we expected to perform, and it’s something that we collectively have to do a better job of delivering the product on the floor that we said we would do at the start of this season.
“We still believe in our coaching staff. We believe in the plan Scott and I put together and the players that we’ve assembled, but we also have to acknowledge that we haven’t played at the level we expected to play at.”
According to Mills, he and Knicks general manager Scott Perry spoke with owner James Dolan during the game, which included several rounds of boos from fans in attendance.
“I mean Jim still believes in the plan that we put together, but he’s passionate as we are about this,” Mills said. “He would want us to have better results on the floor. But I think Jim is a fan and believes in what we are doing, but he has the same kind of expectations that we have. And this is really about how we feel about what we should be doing, what we should be delivering as a group and we all take responsibility.”
Following Mills and Perry at the podium, coach David Fizdale was asked if he feels a sense of urgency to get the Knicks turned around quickly.
“I live in that sense of urgency,” Fizdale said. “I don’t need anyone to speak to give me a sense of urgency. I’m not cruising through this thing acting like I’ve got a bunch of time to get a team together. Every day I have urgency about this team about how I coach them, about getting them better, about building consistent habits.”
Cleveland opened the second half on an 18-6 run and led the Knicks by as many as 30 in the third quarter. Following a driving layup from Sexton at the 6:48 mark of the third quarter, fans booed the Knicks heavily.
The Cavaliers took a 54-36 lead into the half as Sexton led all scorers with 16 points. The Knicks struggled mightily from the field shooting 16 for 43 in the first half, taking many contested long two-pointers.
Beilein had high praise for Sexton’s defensive development.
“I love the way he attacks the basket, but I think what’s being underrated here is his growth from last year to this year on his defense,” the coach said. “You can see he’ll still make a mistake every now and then - everybody does - but for the most part, he’s an athlete who should become a very good defender.”
Cleveland busted out of the gate and led 14-4 as Sexton scored nine points to open the game.
Cavaliers: Coach John Beilein said the lack of “development preparation” is the biggest transition for him adjusting from the college to pro game. ... John Henson (hamstring), Dylan Windler (leg) and Ante Zizic (foot) were out for Cleveland.
Knicks: Elfrid Payton is not guaranteed his starting point guard spot upon return. “If things are going well, we’ll probably stay with what we’re doing,” David Fizdale said. ... Elfrid Payton (hamstring), Dennis Smith Jr. (personal), Mitchell Robinson (concussion) and Reggie Bullock (neck) were out for New York.
OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST IN ATTENDANCE
Tara Lipinski, who won a figure skating gold medal at the 1998 Olympics, was on hand.
Cavaliers: Visit Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
Knicks: Visit Chicago on Tuesday night.
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