New York Knicks David Fizdale
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks nearly come back from down 22 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but ultimately fall short.

The New York Knicks won’t be happy with how they played on Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. After two days off, there’s no excuse for the slow start from head coach David Fizdale’s squad

The Knicks let the Cavs jump out to a 22-point lead in the second quarter and New York was forced to play catch up the entire second half.

Catch up they did. Kevin Knox threw down a thunderous dunk with 32 seconds left to play. But Rodney Hood would hit a floater in the lane on the very next play to give the Cavs a 106-105 lead that they would never relinquish.

The Knicks mounted a valiant comeback, but their failure to show up in the first half and some spotty late-game execution ultimately doomed the comeback effort.

Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson were the difference makers for Cleveland. They combined for 51 points and the Knicks had trouble stopping their dribble penetration all night long.

There were positives to glean from the loss. That’s becoming a theme for the Knicks this season, but that’s understandable for a rebuilding team.

The aforementioned Knox was put back into the starting lineup after his recent streak of solid performances. He put up respectable numbers with 19 points and seven rebounds.

Additionally, Frank Ntilikina turned in another strong game. He was noticeably aggressive and he’s starting to develop that attacking mindset that he’ll need to succeed. Ntilikina had 16 points, three rebounds, and four assists.

Knox and Ntilikina were bright spots on Wednesday, but this is still a frustrating loss all the same. The Cavaliers are one of the worst teams in the league and the first half letdown is inexcusable.

Attracting a major free agent next summer appears to be an organizational goal. Listless efforts like Wednesday are not going to convince anyone to come play in Madison Square Garden. To be fair, most NBA teams — save for the elite teams — have nights like these. The young players are starting to show serious growth, but the Knicks want to see that growth translate to wins sooner or later.

New York will look to bounce back from this loss on Friday when they take on the Hornets in Charlotte.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.