The New York Knicks defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers by a score of 99-79 to take a commanding 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series. Jalen Brunson led all scorers with 21 points, RJ Barrett emerged from a scoring funk to finish with 19, and the Knicks allowed the Cavaliers to score the fewest points of any team in the NBA this season.
After suffering a defeat in Game 2, the New York Knicks came back with a vengeance and won Game 3, moving them closer to claiming their first series win since 2013 and moving them halfway to their goal. They had a 27-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but the sold-out crowd of 19,812 was so noisy that it was difficult to hear much of what the public address announcer was saying. This was particularly the case when the seldom-used veteran Derrick Rose entered the game to a roaring ovation.
Julius Randle, an All-Star with the Knicks stated, “It definitely lived up to my expectations.” “A ton, a ton, a ton of energy, and we could feed off that, so I like it.”
For the fifth-seeded Knicks, who will host Game 4 on Sunday, Josh Hart contributed 13 points to the scoring column. They made history by being the first team in the sport to allow less than 80 points in the regular season or the playoffs.
Donovan Mitchell led the Cavs in scoring with 22 points, but his team never had a chance after turning in their worst offensive performance. They may have been thrown off by the presence of the Knicks on the field as well as the supporters in the stands.
Mitchell said that despite their inability to hit shots, they will still be successful despite this setback. “Not being able to make shots hurts as well,” Mitchell remarked. “Like, take a few deep breaths, relax, and compose yourself,” the speaker said.
Darius Garland, who had scored 32 points in the previous game, could only muster 10, shooting only 4 of 21 from the field. Caris LeVert, placed into the starting lineup after scoring 24 points in that win, squandered all six of his shot attempts in the first half before coming off the bench to score 17 points late in the game.
Barrett shot only 6 of 25 from the field in the first two games, but he was making shots when he took them, and he aggressively went to the basket to get himself going. In addition, several of the Cavaliers’ 21 turnovers allowed Barrett and the Knicks to get easy transition baskets from those errors.
That was only the second time in the previous ten years that the playoffs were held in Madison Square Garden, and it looked like something played by the beloved Knicks of the 1990s, who had the Garden rocking deep in many springs with their rough style of basketball.
Barrett said, “As a basketball player, you sort of grow up dreaming about situations like this.” “The energy was through the roof in there, and we couldn’t be happier to return on Sunday.”
It was a chaotic scene, with people falling to the ground or colliding with one another, with the ball sometimes making it into the hoop.
By the halfway break, the Cavaliers had scored 13 points but had turned the ball over 12 times. The Knicks’ 4-for-19 shooting from outside the arc made the Cavaliers’ 2-for-19 shooting from beyond the arc appear pitiful.
Garland (0 for 8) and Randle (0 for 5) were unable to score from any position throughout the first quarter, resulting in a 17-17 tie after the period. The teams, as a whole, missed 20 of the 23 3-point attempts they attempted during the period. The Cavaliers’ previous season low came on December 4 against the Knicks when they scored 81 points. This was also their most deficient performance of the year.
LeVert described the game as “nasty,” expressing his opinion that “a lot of games” involving them had been like that this season.
The Knicks opened up a six-point lead in the second quarter when Brunson stole the ball from Mitchell and dunked it. They then earned the last five points of the half on a 3-pointer by Immanuel Quickley and another slam after a Mitchell mistake, this time by Barrett, to make it 45-32.
The offenses started going for both sides in the third quarter, with LeVert scoring 11 points and both teams shooting better than 50 percent from the field. The Knicks finished the quarter on an 8-0 run to establish a 72-55 lead against the Cavaliers after the Cavs had cut the deficit to single digits earlier in the quarter.
Mitchell, born in Elmsford, New York, not far from where the Knicks practice, and who had hoped to be a member of the Knicks until Utah moved him to Cleveland, had a difficult time in his first playoff game back in his hometown.
He said that he had stopped communicating with certain pals who were Knicks fans and had also abandoned several group conversations to eliminate any potential disruptions. The crowd, which often showed the All-Star guard a great deal of support, became hostile toward him after he missed a 3-point shot in the second quarter and began yelling “Airball! Airball!” at him in a loud voice.
Garland, who plays for the Cavs, had to come out of the game for a while in the fourth quarter because he injured his ankle after walking on a photographer stationed behind the hoop. The Cavaliers scored 32 points in the first half of the game, which was tied for their lowest total in a first half of a playoff game. The game was Game 3 of the 1996 playoffs against the Knicks, and the Cavaliers lost 81-76. After a poor performance in Cleveland, where the team played two games, Isaac Okoro was replaced by Caris LeVert on the bench. Okoro shot a combined 0 for 7.
Knicks’ Randle and Quickley both tallied 11 points in the scoring column. Jericho Sims, the team’s backup big man, was sidelined due to a shoulder injury. He has never participated in any of the games in the series.