NEW YORK (AP) — A week made a big difference for the New York Knicks.
Julius Randle scored 30 points, Marcus Morris Sr added 23 and the Knicks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 123-105 yesterday to avenge a 21-point home loss eight days prior. R J Barrett added 15 points and Damyean Dotson had 11 for New York.
In their first meeting on November 10, the Cavaliers came into Madison Square Garden and posted a 108-87 victory. This time, they never led.
“We got off to a good start,” Randle said. “I think the start was everything. We started out four of 14 last week and never got going.”
Kevin Porter Jr led Cleveland with 18 points. Collin Sexton and Alfonzo McKinnie each had 14.
Kevin Love, who had 17 points in the first meeting, did not play due to back tightness, the first game he’s missed this season.
“He’s a great player, a champion,” Barrett said “Having him out was, I wouldn’t say great. But, we didn’t have Mitch (Mitchell Robinson) last time so it’s even now.”
The Knicks scored the first four points and never trailed. Randle had 15 points in the first quarter as the Knicks built two 16-point leads before settling for a 32-20 advantage at the end of the quarter.
The Cavaliers pulled within 36-31, but the Knicks followed with a 24-8 run and took a 60-39 lead on Randle’s three-pointer.
Randle had 23 points at halftime as the Knicks took a 64-51 advantage into the break.
Cleveland are also without Larry Nance Jr, who is out with a left thumb sprain.
“We were missing two really good players,” Cavaliers coach John Beilein said. “We are not real deep as it is. We were missing one of our best, if not our best player, and our power sixth man. And with a team that is not deep, that is a really big difference.”
The Cavaliers never got closer. The Knicks scored the first six points of the second half and increased their lead to 90-65 on Dotson’s long jumper with 3:25 remaining in the third.
The Knicks led 94-71 after three quarters and extended their lead to a game-high 27 points on Randle’s bucket with 9:17 remaining.
Cleveland only managed to get within 16 in the game’s final minute.
Jordan Clarkson (13), Brandon Knight (12) and Darius Garland (10) also reached double figures in points for Cleveland.
“All of these wins feel good,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said. “Obviously, we didn’t like the last time they came here.”