The Knicks snapped a four-game losing streak with a 105-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Here are the takeaways…
– Julius Randle started the game with 17 first-quarter points after a hot start from beyond the arc. He shot five-of-six from three-point range in the first quarter. His 17 points were just six shy of his total against Toronto last time out. Randle helped the offense restore the rhythm after a 7-0 run from Cleveland just three minutes in.
With defense serving as a storyline with the Knicks allowing at least 115 points per game during the four-game losing streak, the New York offense produced 34 points in the first quarter against the NBA’s top scoring defense in the Cavaliers (107.3 PPG).
– The Cavaliers flipped the script in the second quarter, outscoring the Knicks 24-19 and closing the quarter on a 15-6 run. Cleveland’s offense started quickly in the second half as well, beginning with a 7-0 run in the opening two minutes and 30 seconds of the third quarter.
Free throws have been a major area of the Knicks’ offense during the season. After averaging 25 free throw attempts, the Knicks attempted 13 free throws in the first half.
In two separate quarters, the Knicks’ defense stepped up in the final two minutes of the quarter. In the first, the Knicks limited Cleveland to three points and two points in the final two minutes of the third.
– A five-point stretch to open the third quarter from Obi Toppin sparked the Knicks after he hit a corner three and a transition layup. Toppin finished the game with 11 points.
With a prioritization of points in the paint, Cleveland’s Jarrett Allen turned in an efficient night. Midway through the third quarter, Allen contributed 20 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field.
As the game’s leading scorer, Randle stepped up to end the third quarter, adding five points to end the third quarter as part of a 10-2 run.
Isaiah Hartenstein provided key minutes throughout the game, tallying four points and nine rebounds with multiple dunks and a key block of Donovan Mitchell in the final three minutes of the game.
Randle led all scorers in a double-double performance with 36 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett and Quentin Grimes all finished in double figures to snap the losing streak.
The 103 points allowed by the Knicks is the team’s lowest total allowed since allowing 83 points to Phoenix on Jan. 2.
The Knicks hit the road for two games, starting Thursday night in Boston for a matchup with the Celtics. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.