Randle’s triple-double powers Knicks to 95-86 win over Cavs

CLEVELAND (AP) — Julius Randle had 28 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his first triple-double in two years, leading the New York Knicks to a 95-86 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

Randle, who scored 18 in the first half as New York built a 16-point lead, completed his seventh career triple-double with an assist on Elfrid Payton’s 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

It was the power forward’s first triple-double since Nov. 19, 2018, with New Orleans.

“I just tried to take what the defense gave me while playing the game the right way,” Randle said. “We’ve got great spacing and when the defense collapses, I know I can make the right play. When you get wide-open shots, it makes it easier for everybody.”

Reggie Bullock scored 17 points and Payton had 14 points, eight boards and seven assists for the Knicks (2-2), who won their second in a row and earned their first road victory of the season.

New York made 14 of 25 3-pointers, increasing its NBA-best percentage to .459, with Randle making all four of his tries. The Knicks never allowed Cleveland to get closer than seven points in the fourth.

“Julius came into camp in great shape, which is the biggest thing,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s playing really well and he now knows his teammates’ strengths, which makes everyone better.”

Andre Drummond notched his fourth double-double for the Cavaliers (3-1) with 18 points, 17 rebounds and a season-high six blocked shots. Cleveland started the season 3-0 for the first time since winning six in a row to begin 2016-17.

The Cavaliers, who finished with the second-worst record in the NBA at 19-46 last season, missed their first 10 3-pointers and finished 7 of 32. Collin Sexton scored 20 points and Darius Garland had 17, but the starting guards were 12 of 35 from the field.

“There were moments when guys tried to take it on themselves, individually,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “I felt like we were desperate and tried to make the home run play, instead of just playing good defense.”

Randle had 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the first half, powering New York to a 53-46 advantage. Bullock made four of the Knicks’ 10 3-pointers, including a 31-footer at the buzzer in the second quarter.

New York built a 29-15 lead in the first when Randle made all five of his shots in racking up 14 points, six boards and five assists.

“I think we’ve got the right people in place from top to bottom in this organization now,” Randle said. “They challenged me going into the offseason and I challenged myself, as well, to come back a better player.”

Larry Nance Jr. added nine points for the Cavaliers, who will be without Kevin Love (right calf strain) for at least three weeks. The five-time All-Star aggravated the lingering injury Sunday against Philadelphia.

WHERE IS THE LOVE

Love, who sat out the opener with the same calf strain, will not be re-evaluated until late January. He has missed 116 regular-season games since helping the Cavaliers win the 2016 NBA championship. “Predicting injuries is hard to do, but I feel bad for Kevin,” Bickerstaff said. “He’s been working his tail off, trying to get right for this season.”

TIP-INS

Knicks: G Alec Burks (left ankle sprain) did not play after being injured Sunday against Milwaukee. Thibodeau said Burks is day-to-day … G Dennis Smith Jr. (left quadriceps) could rejoin the team during its ongoing four-game trip. … Rookie F Obi Toppin (right calf) and G Immanuel Quickley (left hip) were inactive, along with G Austin Rivers (groin) and F Omari Spellman (right knee).

Cavaliers: Rookie forwards Isaac Okoro (left foot sprain) and Dylan Windler (left hand fracture), G Matthew Dellavedova (concussion) and G Kevin Porter Jr. (personal) were not in uniform. … The Ohio Department of Health will allow 1,944 fans at upcoming home games, which is 10% of arena capacity. The Cavaliers have been limited to 300 spectators due to COVID-19 restrictions.

UP NEXT

Knicks: Play Toronto in its temporary home of Tampa, Florida. The Raptors have won eight straight over New York, whose last victory in the series occurred on Nov. 22, 2017.

Cavaliers: Visit Indiana on Thursday. Cleveland begins a six-game road trip – its longest of the season – and won’t return to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse until hosting Memphis on Jan. 22.

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