The New York Knicks defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 101-97 in their series opener on Saturday, taking homecourt advantage from the soft paws of the inexperienced Ohioans.
Things got heated on #CavsTwitter, which is reasonable considering there are too many wild and quick Twitter fingers out there. That’s not really worrying and we can all deal with it.
More worrying for the Cavs faithful and the league as a whole is the fact that any and every Cleveland player and coach is already moaning about the referring in their still-one-game-old series against the Knicks.
J.B. Bickerstaff, head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, said after Saturday’s matchup that “the game changes in the playoffs,” adding that “the rules change” in the postseason.
According to the Cavs coach, a body-to-body foul in the regular season, “...is not body-to-body in the playoffs.” Not happy enough with throwing such a comment to the universal airwaves, JBB added claimed that “this is going to be the story of this series.”
Darius Garland spoke up on the referees' performance as a whole.
“The refs let us play a lot [Saturday],” he started. Garland actually revealed the Cavs' plan for Tuesday’s game, saying that they are planning to “...hit first and see the refs react, instead of being punched in the face and just laying down to it.” Just in case it is not clear enough, I’m just quoting statements here. Verbatim, to the Association and the Cavaliers organization chagrin.
Garland kept on going: “I think that’s the mentality we have to have. Go punch first and see what the refs do, see if they blow the whistle or not. Just set the tone for the game with it.”
Isaac Okoro, speaking after the game, added that “knowing that I’m able to get away with a couple of hand-checks and nudges, I’m just going to keep doing it” to his teammate’s comments.
Garland poured some more spicy sauce into the flaming hot talk: “They kind of took us out of everything because they hit first and we didn’t hit back. We just laid down a little bit. And I think that was the game.”
At least Garland acknowledged that the lack of experience could have played a factor in the Cavs—not the refs—being hella soft on the day they met the grown-ass New York Knickerbockers. “The physicality was definitely the difference for us,” Garland said. “A lot of us haven’t played in the playoffs, so it was a good learning experience.“
We’ll see how the series go and where the decisions and close calls end up benefitting.