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Knicks 99, Cavaliers 79: Scenes from a magnificent playoff home opener


NBA Playoffs: Cleveland Cavaliers vs New York Knicks Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Madison Square Garden was rocking, and the New York Knicks rocked the Cleveland Cavaliers, 99-79, in their first home playoff game in two years. The 2021 COVID playoffs weren’t even played with arenas at full capacity, so this was really the first full Garden crowd since Game 5 of the 2013 playoffs.

The contest was butt-ugly in the first quarter, which ended up a 17-17 draw. The Knicks were saved in that period by the damn near miraculous return to form of RJ Barrett, who shook off months of rust and dropped 10 of his 19 points in the period. He even hit a couple of threes!

The Knicks started to pull away in the second quarter, as Jalen Brunson heated up. The Cavs bottled up the Knicks’ star PG in Game 2, but once he found the range, he smoked Cleveland with a barrage of crafty jumpers en route to 21 points.

Julius Randle didn’t have a great night shooting the rock, but his defense was on point, and he got revenge on Jarrett Allen for that dirty foul at the end of Game 2.

Immanuel Quickley returned to his point/minus god form, finishing a game-high plus-27. His work with Obi Toppin ended the Cavs’ night.

Recap to come. Lots more to come. Go Knicks!