Darius Garland totaled 24 points and 13 assists as the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers never trailed and took control in the third quarter en route to a 119-101 victory over the short-handed New York Knicks on Saturday afternoon.
The Cavaliers (43-35) rebounded nicely from an ugly 131-107 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday. Seventh-place Cleveland moved 2 1/2 games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets and Hawks in the Eastern Conference and within 2 1/2 of the sixth-place Toronto Raptors.
Garland posted his 27th point-assist double-double and seventh in nine games. The All-Star guard made 8 of 19 shots and hit five 3-pointers
Caris LeVert added 19 as the Cavaliers began pulling away in the latter portion of the third before clinching the win in the fourth. The Cavaliers shot 54.3 percent, including 44.1 percent (15 of 34) from 3-point range.
Moses Brown continued to fill in for Jarrett Allen (fractured finger) and contributed 16 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Isaac Okoro contributed 16 points and Kevin Love chipped in 15 for the Cavaliers, who swept the three-game season series from New York.
New York (34-44) dropped its second straight since being officially eliminated from postseason contention Thursday. The Knicks were without Julius Randle due to a sore right quadricep that coach Tom Thibodeau said could keep the forward out for the remaining four games.
Obi Toppin led the Knicks with a career-best 20 points. Evan Fournier added 19 and Immanuel Quickley contributed 17 but RJ Barrett shot 4 of 18 and was held to 12.
Garland scored 10 points as Cleveland outscored the Knicks 19-10 over the final 4:40 for a 39-30 lead after the opening quarter. Toppin’s dunk forged a 45-45 tie with 6:34 remaining and Cleveland held a 68-60 lead by halftime after Brown dunked with 1.8 seconds left.
Cleveland built an 80-71 lead on Garland’s bank shot with 7:41 remaining and extended the cushion to 87-74 two minutes later when LeVert stripped Fournier and Brown converted a two-handed dunk.
Cleveland ended the third on a 12-6 burst and held a 102-85 lead before finishing it off midway through the fourth.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Quickley brought New York within 102-91 a little over two minutes into the fourth. Quickley then fouled Cedi Osman on a 3-pointer and Cleveland completed a four-point play to start an 13-3 run that made it 115-94 when Garland found Okoro for a cutting layup with six minutes left.
–Field Level Media