Anonymous NBA coach explains how Knicks have been able to kill Cavs in rebounding battle

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in a dire situation in their first-round playoff series against the New York Knicks.

New York is up 3-1 in the series heading into Game 5 on Wednesday night in Cleveland. Being ahead in the rebounding battle is a big reason why the Knicks have been able to take a commanding lead over the Cavs.

An anonymous NBA assistant coach recently explained how the Knicks have come out on top in the rebounding battle so far despite going up against Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley.

“The Knicks’ bigs have done a good job at playing behind Jarrett Allen, playing behind Mobley and getting these good dunker reads to open up space, right?” the coach said, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. “[Mitchell] Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein do a great job of moving along the baseline. So when Allen goes to help, they’re already out of his sight and vision. They’re in offensive rebound position, and they’re in dunk or dump-off position.”

Over the first four games of the series, New York is grabbing 44.8 rebounds per contest. On the other hand, the Cavs are coming down with 39.0 rebounds per game.

Furthermore, the Knicks have a pretty big edge in the offensive rebounding department, as they are averaging 14.5 of them per game while the Cavs are only getting 10.5 per game.

It makes sense that the Knicks are dominating the rebounding battle in this series. During the 2022-23 regular season, they ranked third in the league in rebounds per game with 46.6. As for the Cavs, they finished 25th in the NBA at 41.1 rebounds per game.

In each of the four games in this series, the team that has won the game has gotten more rebounds. In basketball, winning the rebounding battle often means winning the game.

Due in part to the rebounding issues the Cavs have experienced against the Knicks, some people have been saying that having Kevin Love on the roster would’ve helped Cleveland.

All of New York’s players have been active on the boards, though Robinson, Hartenstein, Josh Hart and Julius Randle have been some of the team’s better rebounders in the series.

Following Game 3, Allen voiced his frustrations about the rebounding.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I should be down there boxing out, pushing guys around more. It’s frustrating to see myself let someone get so many offensive rebounds.”

With their backs against the wall, the Cavs no longer have any room for error. Every game from here on out in this series is a do-or-die contest.

For now, the Cavs should take things game by game and focus on protecting their home court on Wednesday night.

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David is a Miami native and University of Maryland graduate who is proud to be a contributor of Cavaliers Nation. He is an avid NBA fan.