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Cleveland Cavaliers Still Looking For Payback Against New York Knicks

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The Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks‘ first game together this season was essentially a playoff rematch.

As the Eastern Conference rivals play their final home-and-home game on Wednesday night in New York, the Cavaliers will be hoping to be closer to full strength.

Tuesday night, Julius Randle led the visiting Knicks with 19 points and 10 rebounds as they overcame the undermanned Cavaliers 109-91 in the second half.

Following a one-game absence due to a hamstring injury, Donovan Mitchell scored a game-high 26 points for the Cavaliers. Despite being without important reserve Caris LeVert (hamstring) and starters Darius Garland (hamstring) and Jarrett Allen (ankle), Cleveland was only able to hold two-point leads in the opening quarter against the Knicks, who outscored the hosts 51-39 in the second half.

Allen has not yet played this season, and Garland has missed the last three games. J.B. Bickerstaff, the coach, is hoping Allen will be back soon.

Tuesday’s outcome was identical to the Knicks and Cavaliers’ April matchup, in which New York won an Eastern Conference first-round series over Cleveland by a score of four games to one.

Mitchell said on Tuesday that although the Cavaliers were excited to play the Knicks again, it couldn’t take center stage. Cleveland will only play New York one more this season on March 3 in Ohio.

Despite the huge final margin of victory on Tuesday, New York will be hoping to play a more thorough game on Wednesday. Randle recorded his fourth double-double in as many games this season, but the Knicks relied heavily on backups Isaiah Hartenstein and Immanuel Quickley, who combined for 31 points on 11 of 21 shots at 52.4 percent.

After Thibodeau slapped him on the tongue, the Knicks won the rest of the third quarter 26–12 over the Cavaliers. In the fourth quarter, New York’s lead reached up to 23 points.

“The first five minutes you’ve got to be ready,” Thibodeau said. “Usually we’re pretty good from that aspect, so we had to get going. We had to get going together. Sometimes there’s a tendency to ease into things. You can’t. I knew there was urgency on their part.”

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