Donovan Mitchell had one of his worst games of the season, shooting just 5-of-18 from the field, and he didn’t shy away from holding himself accountable.
“I didn’t show up for my teammates,” Mitchell said. “Everybody did their job, and I didn’t do what I was capable of and that’s on me. I played like s—. I’m the leader of this group, everybody did their job, and I didn’t. Simple as that.”
The Cavs came in needing a win to even the series at 2-2, and the contest was there for the taking in the final minutes. But the Knicks were able to surge ahead when it mattered most and hand Cleveland a 102-93 loss.
After a very poor Game 3, Darius Garland stepped up, scoring 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting while dropping off 10 assists.
But overall, Cleveland couldn’t hit from the outside, going just 6-of-23 from beyond the 3-point line. While Mitchell had a bad game, his opposite number, Jalen Brunson, put up 29 points and hit five 3-pointers.
Another thorn in the side of the Cavs was Knicks wing Josh Hart. Although he isn’t known as a scorer, he contributed 19 points while also grabbing seven rebounds.
Mitchell has had a magnificent year, establishing career-highs in scoring average, overall shooting percentage and 3-point accuracy in the regular season. He has developed a reputation as a big-game player, but other than an outstanding Game 1, he hasn’t played up to his standards in this series.
Heading back home, the Cavs’ only hope is to become one of a handful of teams to overcome a 3-1 series deficit. Based on what has transpired so far, doing so seems all but impossible, especially against a very strong New York frontline that has more experience than Cleveland’s frontline.
Cleveland got outrebounded 47-33 on Sunday, and it’s an issue the team must fix if it is to have any chance of getting back into this series, other than Mitchell’s shooting woes.