Mitchell Robinson claps back at notion that Cavs will be threat to Knicks due to their frontcourt

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Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson showed confidence in his team when asked about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ starting frontcourt of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.

Robinson believes that the Knicks have the big men to deal with Cleveland’s frontcourt, which is bigger than most of the other ones across the league.

It makes sense that Robinson has confidence in the Knicks ahead of their playoff series against Cleveland. The Knicks won three of the four meetings between the two teams in the regular season, though the last matchup came with Allen out for Cleveland and Julius Randle sidelined for New York.

Robinson certainly has the size to match up with one of Allen or Mobley down low, but the Knicks will be a bit undersized at the power forward spot with Randle (or Obi Toppin if Randle is unable to play due to his ankle injury) in the starting lineup.

Cleveland finished the 2022-23 regular season with the best defensive rating in the NBA, partially because of the elite rim protection that Mobley and Allen provide. The two Cavs bigs should make things tough on the Knicks when they try to get baskets at the rim in the series.

New York has other options besides Robinson down low, as offseason acquisition Isaiah Hartenstein has provided the team with steady minutes off the bench all season.

Hartenstein averaged 5.0 points. 6.5 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 19.8 minutes per game during the regular season. The team could also use youngster Jericho Sims at the center spot in the series.

The issue for New York is Hartenstein and Robinson are a tough duo to consider playing together on offense since they don’t really have outside games. While Mobley can make jump shots and also guard on the perimeter at a high level, New York may not have the same luxury if it goes to a two-big lineup.

Still, the Knicks thrived on the glass all season, ranking second in the NBA in rebounding percentage during the regular season.

This should be a fun matchup to watch, and Robinson will be in the middle of it battling down low.

The Knicks and Cavs will play Game 1 of their first-round series on Saturday, April 15 at 6 p.m. EST in Cleveland.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.