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Cavaliers 96, Knicks 86: Scenes from a surprisingly frustrating loss

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Listen, it is not lost on me that to find a Knicks loss in Cleveland frustrating constitutes progress. I do not take for granted that a brand new squad hanging at all with the Cavaliers is fairly cool. But god DAMN, that was frustrating. Derek Fisher's lineups stayed dubious, Carmelo Anthony stayed jab-stepping his way to crude shots against defenders he should torch, and the Knicks' sprinters found no way generate the pace that's kept them afloat this season. You could smell a blowout loss back in the first half, when the Knicks couldn't fully exploit all the open looks Cleveland missed, and that stench ran right through a litany of horrid shots and defensive breakdowns to close the contest. A few scenes from a grim game:

This is the way the Knicks started:

This is what they will look like when they are good -- putting Melo in motion, and getting their bigs the ball in stride to the basket.

This is what the Knicks look like when they are bad:

That's against LeBron James, but Melo took shots like that when single-covered by Matthew Dellavedova and Richard Jefferson. His shot's not falling *and* he's not finding paths to the rim against guys he should be able to bulldoze. Hope he figures that out.

The Cavs, to be fair, are quite a good defensive team. They kept the Knicks from scoring *at all* in transition. The Knicks are not quite a good defensive team:

That defense is a problem, and it's a big reason Knicks bigs get caught fouling. That sucked, but life goes on. More later!