Since the New York Knicks have had so few opportunities to participate in the NBA playoff celebration, they can forget that the true excitement has yet to begin.
Jalen Brunson said that there is nothing worthy of celebration. “There is nothing to feel thrilled about,” the speaker said.
With only one more victory, everything will be different.
Brunson finished with a game-high 29 points, RJ Barrett added 26, and the New York Knicks defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-93 on Sunday to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the first-round series between the two teams.
In his new role as a starter, Josh Hart contributed 19 points and seven rebounds for the fifth-seeded Knicks, who have a chance to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2013 if they win away from home against the Cavaliers on Wednesday. If it comes to that, New York will host Game 6 on Friday at the raucous Maddison Square Garden, which has played home to the last two games in this series.
Tom Thibodeau, who coaches the New York Knicks, says, “There’s nothing like a huge game at the Garden.”
Due to how his side is defending, a couple more goals will likely be scored.
Donovan Mitchell, an All-Star for the Cleveland Cavaliers, had one of the worst games of his playoff career because of New York. Mitchell finished with only 11 points and shot just 5 of 18 shots. After shooting only 4 for 21 from the field in the Cavaliers’ Game 3 loss to the Knicks, Darius Garland bounced back in a big way with 23 points and ten assists for his team. Both Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert scored 14 points for their respective teams.
Mitchell said that “This is not going to be resolved.” “It’s a shame we lost in such fashion. We cannot sulk about with our heads in the dirt and give up. We are not that kind of organization. As I already said, we will be prepared for Game 5.”
Barrett only shot a combined 6 for 25 in the two games played in Cleveland, but he has been great since returning home, where fans screamed his name throughout the second half. The Knicks were tied at 75 points each when he scored five points in a row to break the tie. He added another basket before Hart scored to boost the lead to 90-81 halfway through the game, during a run in which Cleveland could only score two baskets in more than four minutes.
After holding the Cavaliers to 79 points on Friday, the lowest total in an NBA game this season, the Knicks led most of the game in this one to move closer to the semifinals of the Eastern Conference for the first time since upsetting Boston in 2013.
Since then, they have only once again qualified for the postseason, although Atlanta eliminated them in five games in 2021. Brunson was signed during the offseason of the previous year after he had assisted Dallas in reaching the Western Conference finals. Hart was acquired from Portland during the current season to make this squad more complete.
This combination started together for the first time since they were college colleagues at Villanova. They contributed to 20 of the Knicks’ 30 points in the first quarter, which resulted in the Knicks taking a seven-point lead after the period.
In the second quarter, New York increased their lead to double digits, and Brunson’s three-pointer at the halfway mark put the score 46-31. The score was 54–45 in favor of the Knicks.
According to the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, J.B. Bickerstaff, “Throughout the regular season, we were able to flip some switches and come back in games.” “At this point, there just isn’t a window of opportunity to do so.”
Nevertheless, Garland scored the opening two baskets of the third quarter, assisted on the next three points by Cleveland, and then scored the next two field goals by the Cavaliers to tie the game at 59. His three-point play gave Cleveland a 66-63 lead, and he finished the third quarter with 11 points and five assists. However, Brunson’s three-pointer with 6.2 seconds left gave the Knicks a 73-71 lead going into the fourth quarter. Brunson’s shot sent the Knicks into the fourth quarter with the lead.
According to Barrett, “Jalen scored a tremendous shot at the end of the third to put us ahead, so that was crucial, then fourth quarter, just remaining tough” As they threw a punch, we responded by throwing something back at them.
Evan Mobley of the Cavaliers scored 12 points but was eliminated from the game due to foul trouble in the fourth quarter. Cleveland’s record in Game 4s since 2017 improved to 7-2.
Knicks guard Quentin Grimes has a bruise on his right shoulder, so Josh Hart began in his place for the Knicks. Mitchell Robinson pulled down 11 rebounds and scored 12 points. Julius Randle, an All-Star player, concluded the game with just seven points and two rebounds.