Knicks Crush the Cavs and Have a Date with Miami in the Second Round
Only two players in NBA history have tallied at least 29 offensive rebounds and more than ten blocks over the first five games of their postseason career: Hakeem Olajuwon and Mitchell Robinson.
Yeah, um, we got a lot to talk about, guys…
With the Knicks physically dominating the Cavs in Cleveland en route to a series-clinching victory Wednesday night, and the Heat stunning the Bucks in Milwaukee, the two rivals will square off in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Game 1 will tip off at 1 pm inside Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
Yes, the Knicks will have home-court advantage in the second round of the playoffs.
That sentence I just typed is a real, true thing.
Yet, before we begin focusing on the hated Heat, let's look back at an incredibly impressive statement victory from New York last night.
We could head in so many different directions, as this was a true "team victory," but I think we have to start by giving Mitchell Robinson, the longest-tenured Knick, his well-deserved flowers.
With all this series's incredible storylines and performances, Mitch Rob has flown under the radar a bit, but it's impossible to overstate his impact.
Coming into the series, it was assumed the Cavs had the advantage at center, considering Jarrett Allen was an All-Star in 2021-22 and averaged more points and rebounds than Robinson during the regular season. However, Mitch Rob humiliated Allen over the past two weeks, pounding the offensive glass mercilessly and controlling the paint on both ends of the floor. Throughout the series, I got serious "Marcus Camby in 1999" vibes watching Robinson sprint up and down the floor and steal possession after possession for his team.
And Game 5 was arguably the best all-around game of Mitch Rob's career, as he racked up 13 points (6-of-9 FGs), 18 rebounds (with 11 of them on the offensive end), one assist, two steals, and three blocked shots in 35 minutes. He is just the fifth player in NBA history to tally 11 offensive rebounds, three swats and two steals in a playoff game (the other four are Hakeem Olajuwon, Shawn Kemp, Larry Smith and Shaquille O'Neal). Robinson is the first player ever to do so in an elimination game.
How about this for a stat: Robinson had more OFFENSIVE rebounds in Game 5 (11) than Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley had defensive rebounds COMBINED (10).
Remarkably, Mitch Rob ripped down 29 O-boards in the series. The only other players to accumulate at least 29 offensive rebounds and more than ten blocks over the first five games of a series are Shaquille O'Neal, Dwight Howard, Shawn Kemp, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Ben Wallace.
Keep in mind, this was Robinson's first taste of postseason basketball. Olajuwon is the only player to match those numbers in the first five playoff games of his career.
By the second half of Game 5, it looked like Jarrett Allen and his teammates didn't want to be bullied anymore, which is a testament to the physicality and toughness of New York.
And if we are talking toughness, we have to mention Josh Hart. I've said before, and I'll repeat it: Hart was made to be a Knicks and was built to perform in the postseason.
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