The New York Knicks are on the precipice of a series win by virtue of defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers, 102-93, on a Saturday afternoon at MSG.
This game was weird, yo. The nasty funk that has followed Julius Randle around since Game 2 really boiled over in the third quarter. The Knicks led by nine points at halftime, but the Cavs bolted out to a strong start after halftime and quickly retook the lead. Julius looked mostly checked out on offense and defense. It’s the kind of mood we’ve seen from him a few times in his career, but this was a damn playoff game.
Fortunately, Julius’ teammates picked him up. Jalen Brunson (29 points) grabbed the lead back at the end of the third with a tough pull-up triple.
WE HAVE CHILLS.— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) April 23, 2023
HOW BOUT Y'ALL?? pic.twitter.com/SDxcOYwXcd
Head coach Tom Thibodea, who is coaching the series of his life, let Obi Toppin play the entire fourth quarter. And Obi paid off his coach by doing the dirty work that Randle had refused to do. Great stuff from Obi!
But the fourth may have belonged to the resurrected RJ Barrett. There was a lot of bad noise surrounding RJ — especially from me — after a frankly bad end to the regular season. Well, he showed up in a massive way in Game 3 and one-upped himself in Game 4, with 10 of his 26 points coming in the fourth.
PLAYOFF “RJ BARRETT” CHANTS FOR MY GOD!!! pic.twitter.com/XXV1OY88P9— X - LeJandro (@OnlyOneJandro) April 23, 2023
Brunson ended the game with a three off another rebound from Josh Hart, who started in place of Quentin Grimes.
JALEN BRUNSON SEEEEEND IT pic.twitter.com/AP8gkufEt1— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) April 23, 2023
Obviously, Julius needs to get his shit together. But this was an incredible performance from just about everyone else. One more win, friends.
Recap to come.