NEW YORK (AP) — Jalen Brunson scored 23 points and the New York Knicks snapped a five-game home losing streak with a 92-81 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.
The Knicks never trailed in the contest as they held an opponent under 100 points for the first time this season.
“We needed it. We had to start it off somehow,” Brunson said. “I’m just happy we came away with a win the way we did. It was a grind offensively. But the fact that our defense was able to keep us in it is a good sign.”
Julius Randle scored 18 points and RJ Barrett added 15 as New York held the Cavaliers to a season-low point total and field goal percentage of 34.9%.
Donovan Mitchell led Cleveland with 23 points and Darius Garland had 17.
Brunson’s three-point play gave the Knicks a game-high 18-point lead, 37-19, with 7:08 remaining in the second quarter.
The Cavaliers scored the next six points, and then after another Brunson bucket, ended the second quarter on an 18-7 run to pull within 46-43 at halftime.
New York scored the first five points of the third quarter and extended its lead to as many as 12. Cleveland cut the deficit to six, but still trailed 71-63 after three quarters.
The Knicks went up by as many as 13 points in the final quarter, but Mitchell’s slam cut the lead to 86-81 with just over two minutes remaining.
Brunson answered with a baseline jumper, Randle followed with a dunk and Brunson hit two free throws to end the scoring.
“We just didn’t make shots. It’s just one of those nights,” Mitchell said. “We just didn’t play well tonight. It can’t always be sunshine and rainbows. This isn’t who we are. We know we can play better and we will.”
Immanuel Quickley (12) and Isaiah Hartenstein (10) added double-digit scoring for the Knicks, while Mitchell Robinson had a game-high 13 rebounds.
Evan Mobley totaled 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers.
“We sustained the effort from start to finish,” said Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau. “They put lots of pressure on you. You can’t let your guard down. The way we played I thought was unselfish offensively, It was a good win.”
Cavaliers: Forward Dean Wade will be out approximately 3-4 weeks after sustaining a left shoulder injury in the first half of Friday night’s win over Orlando. All-Star center Jarrett Allen also missed his fifth straight game with a back injury. … Cleveland is allowing the fewest points per game in the NBA this season. … Evan Mobley is the only Cav to start all 24 games this season.
Knicks: New York had lost four straight games to the Cavaliers, including all three meetings last season. The Knicks had not beaten Cleveland since January 21, 2021 (102-81).
THIRD QUARTER WOES
In their five-game home losing streak, the Knicks had been outscored 180-130 in the third quarter. In Sunday’s victory, they outscored the Cavs 25-20.
Cavaliers: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
Knicks: Host the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
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