New York wrapped up its season with an unnecessary win in Cleveland, defeating LeBron’s squad 110–98 as an offseason approaches for the Knicks and the Cavs rev up for the playoffs.

The last game of the New York Knicks’ (29–53) season pitted them against a fired up Cavs squad. Cleveland, looking to pass the 76ers to claim third in the East (Cleveland owns the tiebreaker over Philadelphia), were playing to win against the Knicks, and usually when a team does that the Knicks lose. Not tonight. Despite a high-energy start, the Cavs fell behind by 20 at the half and the Knicks held on to end the season on a high note.

Let’s take a look at the action.


LeBron in “no chill mode”

Fans of LeBron might remember his claim back in 2014 that he had a “chill mode” he could toggle on and off. It’s since become a version of LeBron we’ve grown accustomed to; during meaningless regular season games, he turns the intensity dial down 30 percent—still enough to eviscerate most of the league—to save his body for the playoffs. It’s extremely rare to see LeBron not in “chill mode” for the very last game of the season. In fact, he’s usually not even on the court, as his teams are almost always at the top of the standings and can afford to rest him.

Cleveland wasn’t at the top of the standings before tonight’s contest, and as a result we got to see LeBron play for the last game of the regular season, a rare sight. He came out hot, blitzing the Knicks early with 10 points and some scrappy work on the glass, but after it became clear the Cavs couldn’t get the third seed they decided to sit him for the rest of the game.

Of note: after tonight’s game against the Knicks, LeBron has officially played all 82 games in a season for the first time in his career. In his 15th season at age 33. Let that sink in.

Pay the man?

For every minute of his up-and-down season, Michael Beasley has played exactly how you’d expect a streaky scorer in a contract year to play. And I don’t just mean he’s jacked up shots at every chance (which he has). Even Beasley’s rebounding looks forced. He’s slamming the boards when another teammate would most certainly get to it, or when it’d be much wiser to run back on defense. Don’t get me wrong. Beasley has played hard this season, but the tunnel vision that he’s been criticized for his whole career got worse during a contract year.

Still, Beasley has produced. For most of the year without Kristaps Porzingis, he’s been the Knicks’ most reliable scorer. Although his shooting has come and gone, Beasley has consistently chipped in little putbacks, floaters, and short fadeaways. His mid-post spin move is the most unexpectedly unstoppable move in the league. He was aggressive and effective for the last game of the season, almost like a musician playing their best song to salvage a shaky set.

Beasley finished the season in game 82 with 12 points on 50 percent shooting, six rebounds, and two assists—quite possibly the end of his brief Knickerbocker career.

Frank super aggressive

For months now, Frank Ntilikina has been asked to do nothing but lock up opposing guards and wings. And he’s been elite at it at times. Tonight, Frank let loose, finishing with 16 points (7-16 FG, 2-5 3pt).

He didn’t shoot particularly well in the first half, but clearly wanted to finish the season with a bang. It’s just one game, but Ntilikina showed flashes of the player he could possibly evolve into in the years to come.

Luke Kornet pops off!

Kornet, who has gradually played himself into the rotation since being called up from the G League, erupted tonight against Cleveland’s bench unit. He finished with 23 points, chipped in four threes, and went straight to the bank with this beauty of a turnaround jumper:

A disastrous end for the Knicks’ draft chances

That is exactly what happened. The Knicks, with just one measly, poorly timed win, saw their draft prospects get significantly worse.

Well, that’s a wrap on the 2017–18. It was fun while it lasted (and by fun, I mean … well not that great). We’ll have to wait a bit longer for Kristaps to return, but we have Burke, Ntilikina, and more to look forward to in the meantime. See you all next time!