It’s hard not to be excited about the Cleveland Cavaliers right now.
On Sunday night, the Cavs went into Madison Square Garden and beat the New York Knicks 126-109 behind a 37-point performance from Ricky Rubio and a 26-point, 9-rebound, 5-assist game from Evan Mobley, With the win, the Cavs are 7-4 on the season and, perhaps more impressively, 5-3 on the road.
Rubio, coming off the bench, was everything the Cavs hoped he might be (and then some) when acquiring him in a trade over the summer. He was 8-9 on three-point attempts to go along with 10 assists vs. just four turnovers. When he was on the floor, his ability to break down a defense with passing and feel (plus one of the best shooting nights of his career) carried Cleveland.
As for Mobley, the Cavs’ top pick might have had his best overall game on Sunday. He was efficient from the floor, making 9-11 shots inside the arc and making a career-high two three-points, with some passing out of the short roll added in. On defense, he did a little bit of everything — defend Knicks All-Star Julius Randle, roam in the center of a zone to cut off passing lanes, etc. — to anchor Cleveland on that side of the ball.
Elsewhere, the Cavs had a strong shotmaking night from Darius Garland. He finished with 16 points on 6-14 shooting overall, but was 4-5 from three and hit multiple shots one-on-one against defenders when the team needed him to create a shot out of nothing. Jarrett Allen was good too, finishing with 18 points and 17 rebounds alongside Mobley in the frontcourt.
The lone blemish on Sunday night for the Cavs is Collin Sexton suffering a left knee injury. He left the game after just playing 13 minutes. His status going forward is yet to be determined, per the team.
With their record, and the team still coming together due to injuries to rotation pieces, the Cavs have to be thrilled about how this season has started off. And winning in New York against an actually good Knicks team, might be their best moment to date.
Up next: Cleveland gets two days off before playing at home on Wednesday against the Washington Wizards. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.