Knicks defense suffocates Cavs stars in 99-79 win as Julius Randle gets ‘MVP’ chants from Madison Square Garden crowd and New York takes 2-1 series lead over struggling Cleveland
- With the win, the Knicks take a 2-1 lead over the Cavs in their first-round series
- The two teams will square off again in Game 4 on Sunday in New York
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The New York Knicks took a 2-1 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first-round playoff series with an emphatic 99-79 win on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
From the opening tip-off the crowd of over 19,000 screaming fans let their presence be felt erupting in ear shattering boos and cheers at the result of every possession along with what seemed to be never ending ‘defense’ chants throughout the first quarter, as there was an audible gasp as every shot went up as blue, orange, and yellow lights flickered throughout the crowd.
Star power forward Julius Randle was even showered with ‘MVP’ chants during his first trip to the foul line en route to an 11-point performance. Later on, during the night Jalen Brunson also received MVP chants as he took free throws in the fourth quarter. Brunson led the team with 21 points on 10 of 18 shooting from the field.
The energy levels maintain high during a timeout towards the end of the first when Knicks legend Latrell Sprewell was shown on the video board after a short montage. Later on, in the evening Bernard King was also shown and received a similar ovation from the MSG faithful
Noise levels remained at what seemed like an all-time high throughout the second quarter and into halftime as New York was able to secure a 13-point lead going into the intermission.
Star power forward Julius Randle was even showered with ‘MVP’ chants during the win
A one-sided third quarter saw New York extent the lead to a 17-point gap that received a standing ovation as the clock expired. During a free throw taken by Josh Hart the crowd could be heard breaking into a serenade of ‘Cleveland sucks’ chants.
Cavs point guard Darius Garland appeared to pick up an injury after he tripped over a camera man following a missed layup and quickly subbed out of the game afterwards.
During a timeout midway through the fourth quarter the good vibes throughout the world’s most famous arena during a single along of ‘it’s up to you New York’ as the arena belted out their hearts to the famed tune, including the previously mentioned Sprewell who made his way onto the video board once again from his courtside seat.
A successful fourth quarter alley-oop from Obi Toppin that also drew a foul call left the arena in a standing ovation that was followed by an inaudibly loud chant. Upon checking out with just under six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter Toppin was given another ovation and met with chants of ‘Obi Obi Obi’ as he sat down following his 11 minutes of game time.
The despite the acoustically beautiful game the loudest ovation of the night came with 2:30 minutes left in the fourth quarter when beloved veteran point guard Derrick Rose checked into the game after fans had been calling for him to play for several minutes. Rose fell out of the Knicks rotation early in the season and has rarely featured since then.
RJ Barret also received loud praise from the crowd after rebounding from a horrible Game 2 in Cleveland to finish second on the team with 19 points on 8-12 shooting.
The two sides will meet again in what will be an equally loud mid-day game on Sunday at 1pm in MSG.
More to follow…