MITCHELL ROBINSON DOMINATES! Knicks Advance! NY 106 Cleveland 95

Mitchell Robinson DOMINATED inside all night against Cleveland’s tag-team 7 footers Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley.

RJ Barrett was the other best player on the court — scoring on drives all night long, playing great defense, and hitting his 3 — for 21 points on efficient 7-13 shooting (2-4 from 3, 5-6 in free throws) and a +21.

Jalen Brunson did his thing — orchestrating and attacking the Cleveland defense. Josh Hart was all over the place on D; nullifying Donovan Mitchell and ripping down rebounds. Immanuel Quickley was hitting his shot.

And Julius Randle started out a Man on Fire — attacking, passing, scoring on drives — until he sprained his bad ankle late in the 2nd quarter and went out of the game. The Knicks didn’t miss a beat — Obi Toppin an able replacement withΒ  tremendous activity — defense, steals, rebounds, slams, and 3’s for 12 points.

And the Knicks won — thoroughly — convincingly — start to finish.

“We had a number of guys step up tonite,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “I thought the way Mitch played set the tone for everything. And Julius was super aggressive to start the game. And I think that gave us a big lift. And once we had the cushion, playing from the lead on the road was huge for us. But I think the rebounding was the name of the game.”

1. NY Asserted Dominance Early

The score was 10-10 early when NY started to make their move and take control — going up 21-14, and then 29-18 — an 11-point lead — late in the 1st quarter.

Barrett was driving to the hole. Robinson was making offensive rebound tip-ins, and Julius Randle was a man possessed — aggressively driving to the basket then making great passes to the outside, or taking it for scores.

Isaac Okoro — a great defender known as not a great offensive player — hit a 3 and a drive to keep Cleveland in it late in the quarter — NY led 33-26 after 1.

2. Knicks Maintained Double-Digit Lead In 2nd

In the 2nd, it was more Barrett — driving for buckets and hitting his 3. Immanuel Quickley joined in — hitting his shot. And Mitchell Robinson continued to Beast inside with offensive rebounds and tip backs, defense and rebounding.

Randle was Man on Fire and Jalen Brunson was attacking — NY built a 55-39 lead with 3:52 left in the half.

Randle Re-Aggrevates Ankle Injury

Caris LeVert hit a 3 with 1:19 left in the half to pull Cleveland within 10, and Julius Randle — coming over to defend him on a switch, came down LeVert’s foot — on the same ankle Randle sprained badly 2 weeks ago. Randle went down and it looked bad — as if he might have ripped tendons. After some time writhing in pain, he was able to get up and limp off to the lockeroom.

3. No Randle No Problem; Knicks Continue Dominance in 3rd

Obi Toppin started the 3rd with a 3, and then a Dunk off a Josh Hart steal and feed, then a jumpshot off a Mitchell Robinson feed — 7 straight points for Obi and NY had a 68-53 lead.

Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, and Caris LeVert did their best to try and bring Cleveland back — hitting shots — but RJ Barrett and Hart countered.

Cleveland pulled to within 9 — but Toppin hit a 3, Brunson stole the ball from Donovan Mitchell for a drive, and then Brunson fed Toppin for an ahead-of-field dunk on a Beautiful bounce pass and NY was up 81-65 with 4 minutes left in the 3rd. Cavaliers Time Out.

Donovan Mitchell scored 5 straight points near the end of the 3rd quarter (including a 3) but Brunson answered with a big bucket to end the quarter Knicks up 12.

4. NY Thwarted Cleveland’s Best Comeback Attempt in 4th

Darius Garland got loose near the start of the 4th — a 3 and back-to-back jumpers to pull Cleveland within 6 — 90-84 with 8:10 left.

But RJ Barrett answered by going strong to the hole where he was fouled — and hit both free throws — and then Quickley did the same thing next time down — to up NY’s lead back to 10.

Down the stretch — Mitchell Robinson absolutely took over.

  • Mitchell Robinson hit a SLAM off a Hart pass and NY was back up 12, with 6 minutes left.
  • Robinson’s dunk with 3:47 left kept NY’s lead at 12.
  • Robinson’s offensive tip-in with 3:14 left put NY up 14.

Donovan Mitchell furiously tried to bring Cleveland back — two floaters sandwiching Garland free throws brought Cleveland within 8 with 1:31 left but they were running out of time. They were forced to foul, and the Knicks hit their free throws.

Brunson hit 2 free throws with 1:22 left and after a Donovan Mitchell 3, Quickley hit 2 free throws with 1:06 left — putting NY up by 9.

More Quickley free throws after a Cedi Osman miss iced it. When Josh Hart blocked Donovan Mitchell’s 3-pt attempt with 45 seconds left and NY up 106-95, Cleveland gave up. A fitting end to the game and the series.

5. Robinson Dominated

Mitch Robinson absolutely dominated under both boards all evening.

  • Robinson out rebounded Jarrett Allen 18-4. Robinson outrebounded Allen and Evan Mobley Combined — 18-13.
  • Robinson also had 3 blocks and 2 steals while Allen had 0 blocks, 0 steals.
  • Robinson had an incredible 11 offensive boards.

Jarrett Allen is an All Star. What does that make Robinson?

Isaiah Hartenstein spelled Robinson for 12 minutes and played well, with 2 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a +1.

Josh Hart grabbed 12 rebounds. NY outrebounded Cleveland 48-30.

6. Barrett Spectacular

And RJ Barrett was also Dominant all evening. Efficient power drives to the basket, great D, hitting his 3 and his free throws — played like an All Star.

It was Great redemption for him as he had been RIPPED the F apart by NY fans in recent weeks for not hitting his 3, and was rumored to be the main part of a trade package for Donovan Mitchell last July.

The series is over. Barrett dominated. Mitchell didn’t move the needle. The Knicks were BLASTED and MADE FUN OF by the media for not making the trade. But it turned out to be a wise decision by the Knicks.


Post Game Interviews:

The Boxscore

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