New York Knicks Frank Ntilikina
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

LeBron James and the Cavs spoiled Frank Ntilikina‘s big night while the New York Knicks move up in the lottery standings with the loss.

It’s hard to beat a team when they make 19 three-pointers. That’s what the Cleveland Cavaliers did to the New York Knicks last night in their 123-109 victory. LeBron James had three long balls of his own and spoiled the best game of Frank Ntilikina’s young career.

The rookie point guard played as aggressive as we’ve ever seen him in the first quarter. Fresh off the praise from James pre-game, Ntilikina scored 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting. The Knicks were only down 1, 25-26.

The 19-year-old finished with a career-high of 17 points on 8-of-16 shooting. He led the team with 40 minutes played — another career-high. According to NBA stats, Ntilikina recovered four loose balls and contested seven three-point shots. He wasn’t just putting in work on offense. The guy was all over the court on Monday night.

Now, about those lottery standings, the Knicks benefited from the loss. Some fans love hearing that, and some don’t, but it’s true. New York is now tied for eighth with the Nets in the lottery standings (via Tankathon). They’re one game back of Chicago with one to play.

The Knicks finish off against the Cavs in Cleveland, the Nets are in Boston, and the Bulls host the Pistons. All three of those sorry teams could and should lose those games without having to try.

I'm ESNY's Executive Editor for I cover the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Email: Chip Murphy covers the NBA for Elite Sports NY. You can find him on Twitter @ChipperMurphy.