Why wasn't Kristaps Porzingis involved in the fourth quarter in Cleveland?

With Carmelo Anthony sidelined, it was probably unreasonable to expect the New York Knicks to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road Wednesday night.

But they were up two points in the fourth quarter, thanks in part to 23 points from Kristaps Porzingis. And that made the 91-84 loss to the Cavs all the more frustrating for New York.

Here are a few quick observations:

Only one shot for Porzingis in the fourth? Porzingis carried the Knicks in Anthony’s absence. He hit 8 of 18 shots, including four of five 3-point attempts, and grabbed 13 rebounds. Curiously -- perhaps maddeningly if you’re a Knicks fan -- Porzingis attempted just one shot in the fourth quarter. His attempt came with 1 second to play and was a heave from 58 feet. That's bizarre, to say the least.

From this vantage point, it’s the responsibility of the guards on the floor -- Jose Calderon and Arron Afflalo -- to get Porzingis the ball late in the game. You can also place blame on Knicks coach Derek Fisher for Porzingis' lack of fourth-quarter touches.

It seems unrealistic, though, to expect Porzingis to demand the ball in the closing minutes. He’s 20 years old and, based on all we know, is deferential to the veterans on the team.

With Porzingis out of the mix in the fourth quarter, the Knicks' offense sputtered, scoring just 12 points.

Breaking out of the slump: Looking for a positive for the Knicks on Wednesday? Porzingis seemed to put his recent shooting slump in the rearview mirror.

In the seven games leading up to Wednesday, Porzingis had made just three of his 21 3-point attempts and shot 29 percent overall.

He insisted there wasn’t anything wrong with his shot and he proved it against Cleveland.

Porzingis hit five of his first 12 shots, including all three 3-point attempts in the first half. He followed up with seven points on 3-for-5 shooting in the third, but then wasn’t involved in the fourth. Strange.

Tough stretch for NY: The Knicks are two games into a 10-game stretch against teams over .500. They are 0-2 thus far and 14-16 on the season. It’s probably too early to look at the standings, but the Knicks are three games out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference at the moment. They play next on Saturday in Atlanta.