New York Knicks BEAT the Cavaliers in Cleveland to take Game 1 of their NBA Eastern Conference Round 1 playoff… marking their first postseason road win in 24 YEARS
- Jalen Brunson scored 27 points and Julius Randle had 19 for the winning Knicks
- The win in Cleveland was the Knicks’ first postseason road victory in 24 years
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Jalen Brunson shook off foul trouble and scored 21 of his 27 in the second half as the New York Knicks welcomed the Cleveland Cavaliers back to the NBA playoffs by holding them off 101-97 on Saturday night in Game 1.
Brunson was limited to nine minutes in the first half, but hit several big shots down the stretch as the Knicks turned back Cleveland’s late rally led by Donovan Mitchell.
Julius Randle was questionable up until pregame warmups, when he tested the left ankle he sprained two weeks ago. The All-Star forward looked like himself with 19 points while pacing the No. 5-seeded Knicks, who fell behind 93-92 with 2:12 left.
With Mitchell making plays all over the floor, the Cavs were within 99-97 in the final seconds when Brunson missed a pull-up, but Randle grabbed his 10th rebound and passed to Quentin Grimes, who was fouled with four seconds left.
Grimes made both free throws as the Knicks finished off the Cavs and disappointed a raucous, towel-waving Cleveland crowd that came alive in the fourth quarter when Mitchell scored 14 to bring the Cavs back.
Jalen Brunson was in fine form as the New York Knicks downed the Cleveland Cavaliers
Donovan Mitchell was brilliant with 38 points but it wasn’t enough to seal a result for the Cavs
Spike Lee (R) was in attendance to cheer on his beloved Knicks (pictured with Jarrett Allen, L)
Brunson celebrates after scoring in the fourth quarter of the game in Ohio on Saturday night
Mitchell finished with 38 for the Cavs, who returned to the playoff stage for the first time since the 2018 NBA Finals. It’s been a long road back for Cleveland, which wasn’t as hurt by its inexperience as lack of bench production from the bench.
Josh Hart added 17 points – and hit a big 3-pointer down the stretch – for New York, whose reserves outscored the Cavs 37-14.
Jarrett Allen had 14 points and 14 rebounds for Cleveland.
Game 2 is Tuesday at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
Brunson sealed the Knicks’ first road playoff win in a massive 24 years to put them 1-0 ahead
Julius Randle (left) was only deemed fit in the warm-up after missing two weeks with an injury
Immanuel Quickley, Evan Mobley and Isaiah Hartenstein (left-right) all fight for the ball
Randle missed New York’s final five games after rolling his ankle on March 29, and the injury threatened to derail New York’s playoff hopes. However, he improved this week despite not taking much contact in practice and looked like himself from the outset.
Brunson picked up his second foul with 7:52 left in the first quarter, and coach Tom Thibodeau had no choice but to replace the guard, who scored a career-high 48 points against the Cavs on March 31 – the first game Randle missed.
The Cavs didn’t take advantage with Brunson out as New York reeled off 10 straight points and led 30-24 after one.
Brunson was back on the bench with his third foul midway through the second. Again, Cleveland failed to capitalize and the Knicks led 50-45 at half.