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Sunday NBA grades: Jarrett Jack strikes blow to Knicks playoff hopes

Mar 24, 2014, 2:33 AM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers v New York Knicks Getty Images

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while eating a $250 hamburger

source:  Jarrett Jack, Cleveland Cavaliers. Earlier on Sunday the Atlanta Hawks had lost and so the Knicks had real motivation at the Garden vs. the Cavaliers — win and NY is just two games back of the last playoff spot in the East. And the Knicks were off to a 17 point lead in the second quarter. Then in then second half Jarrett Jack happened — he had 23 of his 31 points in the second half to spark a Cavaliers comeback (he also had 10 assists). That comeback was aided by the Knicks deciding to take poor shots, but Jack took advantage — he crossed guys up, drained long twos, hit floaters in the lane and got to the basket. He also hit the dagger with 24.7 left — a fade away jumper that was a bad shot most nights but fell because he was just hitting everything.

source:  DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings. Yes, it still counts if it was against the Bucks. Milwaukee simply had no answer for Cousins on Sunday night — Cousins had 32 points (14-of-19 shooting), 12 rebounds and 4 assists. He was a beast. It should be noted that Isaiah Thomas had 30 points on 13 shots and Rudy Gay had 24 points on 16 shots, the Kings key three showed up big. Still, we’ll give Cousins the big shoutout because when he plays like this you realize just what a big star he could become.

source:  Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets. Joe Johnson is clutch, he is the guy Brooklyn should get the ball late in close games. If you needed a reminder of that he provided against the Mavericks on Sunday night — he had 10 of his team-high 22 points on the night either at the end of the fourth quarter or overtime. When the Nets needed a bucket to get the game to overtime, they gave the rock to Johnson and cleared out.

source:  Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors. Early in the fourth quarter the Hawks had a 14 point lead over the Raptors and seemed in control, then everything shifted — Toronto won the fourth quarter 36-15 in large part thanks to Lowry who had 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the quarter. Lowry finished the game with 25 points. DeMar DeRozan added 10 points and the Hawks helped the Raptors out shooting 6-of-22 in the fourth. Still, Lowry was a beast and the symbol of all the Raptors did right in this one.

  1. Kevin S. - Mar 24, 2014 at 6:21 AM

    And this is your reminder that the Knicks are actually a bad team that’s four back in the loss column with twelve games to go on one of the least competitive playoff spots in recent memory. They simply aren’t good enough to sustain the kind of run they’d need to take down Atlanta.

    • cruzan80 - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:25 AM

      I would say it’s a bigger reminder of how awful Raymond Felton is….like worst starting PG in the league awful. 15 players have had season highs on the Knicks…..14 of them were PG’s.

      Nobody on that roster has been a bigger disappointment than Felton. I’m not saying that the Knicks have been good at any point this year but their a team that relies heavily on solid PG play & he has been anything but solid. His offense is putrid & his defense is horrendous. He’s simply not very good.

      • biasedhomer - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:10 AM

        I remember how Knicks fans were saying Felton would not only NOT be a downgrade from Lin, he would actually be an upgrade.

      • casualcommenter - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        I don’t understand Raymond Felton.

        He was a fat disappointment with the Trailblazers, then lost weight over the 2012 offseason and played quite well for most of the 2012-2013 season for the Knicks, until towards the end, when he suddenly became less effective (I think he was injured).

        That helped rehabilitate his reputation, but then this season, he’s back to being completely ineffective. You could build a statistical case for him being the worst point guard in the NBA to average over 25 minutes per game.

    • heat256 - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      But not to worry Knicks fans. You have a 68 year old guy who has never run a team before, and really wishes he were in LA instead, no cap space until 2015, no picks, and your star player may or may not be the best person to lead the team deep into the playoffs. On the plus side, the owner is one of the keenest basketball minds out the- oh wait, he’s fuggin nutso. Sorry.

      • cruzan80 - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        @ Heat256

        “You have a 68 year old guy who has never run a team before”

        Phil Jackson’s 11 rings says he has forgotten more basketball as a coach than Riley ever had & he has the same amount of general manager experience as Riley did when he got tired of being whipped by Jackson & took the GM job in Mimi.

        “no cap space until 2015”

        Which sucks because by the summer of 2015 Melo will be 39 years old & well past his prime. Tim Hardaway Jr. & Iman Shumpert are horrendous & its not like Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love & LaMarcus Aldridge will be FA’s that summer either…….right?

        “your star player may or may not be the best person to lead the team deep into the playoffs”

        Solid opinion there buddy….”may or may not”???? That observation only goes for every star play in the league who doesn’t have a ring yet so I guess…..yeah….sure.

        Typical ignorant Heat “fan” comment.

    • casualcommenter - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      Agreed. Their 8 game “hot streak” came against 6 teams who are below 0.500, 1 team that is exactly 0.500 (T-wolves), and 1 team that is above 0.500 but has been poor for the past few weeks (Pacers).

      And they just lost to the Cavaliers…

      The Knicks’ roster just isn’t very talented, and they have no cap flexibility or draft picks to make it much better next season. That’s the reality. Phil Jackson as a decision-maker is an improvement over Dolan, but he doesn’t change the immediate or medium-term realities of their roster and cap situation.

  2. stayhigh_247 - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    The Warriors are missing JJ right now.

  3. knightrider1755 - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Cruzan80 You are foolish to put the blame solely on Felton for the Knicks ineptitude. In fact the entire team except for Melo SUCKS. The Knicks are a one man band that has fallen and can’t get up.

  4. cruzan80 - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    I didnt….

    “I’m not saying that the Knicks have been good at any point this year but their a team that relies heavily on solid PG play”

    Reading comprehension sir. Didnt place the blame “soley” on Felton….but facts are facts & he has been consistantly awful all year. Everyone has had highs lows….except Felton….he’s just been low. Theres a reason why they tried to trade him at the dealine for the Clippers Collison & theres a reason why the Clippers balked on the trade when the

    • cruzan80 - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM

      Knicks made Felton a mandatory piece to be included.

      Again….he isn’t the only reason but he is the biggest reason after you take injuries out of the equation.

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