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Knicks 95, Cavaliers 86: ‘Dear Julius, we’re sorry’


#Julius #Randle once again displayed his dazzling abilities during #Tuesday night’s 11-point victory over the #Cavaliers in #Cleveland, tallying 28 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his seventh career triple-double and first as a member of the #Knicks.

#Randle’s performance came in front of roughly 300 fans at the #Rocket #Mortgage #FieldHouse, and the victory gives the #Knicks a two-game winning streak, something they accomplished only three times total last season. The #Cavs, which entered the game at 3-0, were missing a boatload of bodies, including #Kevin #Love, while the #Knicks were without #Alec #Burks, both rookies and #Dennis #Smith #Jr., not to mention #Austin #Rivers.

#In the end, all that really mattered was #Randle. #He ran the show throughout the evening, playing a game-high 44 minutes, amassing amazing numbers and looking like an #All-Star. #After tonight, he’s averaging almost 25 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists through four games.

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#Coming off that 20-point beatdown of the #Milwaukee #Bucks, #Tuesday night felt like a classic letdown game for the #Knickerbockers franchise, only this version of the #Knicks didn’t get the memo. The early goings were back and forth, and four minutes into the first quarter, right on schedule, #Tom #Thibodeau called his first timeout, even though the #Cavs were only up 6-5.

#Since #Thibs called such a quick timeout, it’s only appropriate that we take a short breather to address the intense impact #Thibs has had on the #Knicks. #It’s difficult to describe in mere words how much of a difference #Thibodeau’s coaching seems to be making on the team. The rotation is tight, guys know when they are going to get opportunities, and they understand what is expected of them. #Those who capitalize are rewarded with further minutes. #No one wants to draw the ire of #Thibs. #It only took more than 20 years and a dozen coaches, but the #Knicks may have finally found the right replacement for #Jeff #Van #Gundy.

#Back to the action: #Randle had a stellar first quarter, with help from #Reggie #Bullock, who nailed each of his first two threes and finished with 17 points on the night. #Elfrid #Payton’s jump shot didn’t have the same sizzle as #Wednesday (he finished 6-15 from the field), but he too played an impressive game against the #Cavs (14 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2-4 from three).

#After a somewhat sloppy start, the #Knicks kicked into gear midway through the first period, and by the end of the quarter were up 29-15.

#Early in the second quarter, it was feeling like the #Bucks game all over again. #Most impressively, the #Knicks were draining threes like they’re the best three-point shooting team in the NBA or something.

#Unlike #Milwaukee, however, #Cleveland didn’t collapse. #After falling down by as much as 16, the #Cavs crawled back and were neck and neck with the #Knicks by midway through the second. A familiar feeling began permeating the air. #This was the #Knicks we know. The #Cavs were going to take the lead and never look back.

#Nope.

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The #Knicks went into the break up by seven, and in the second half mostly protected their lead, minus a few disgusting minutes in the fourth quarter that included an eight second violation and more turnovers than your grandma’s pastry party. #Timely hoops from the likes of #Randle and RJ #Barrett helped the #Knicks overcome their struggles, and when all was said and done, #New #York was victorious by a score of 95-86.

The #Knicks are now 2-2, a record they haven’t achieved since 2015-16 under #Derek #Fisher. #That’s probably the last time we’ll ever have to describe something #Fisher did with the #Knicks in a favorable fashion.

#Notes:

> #Some of #Randle dimes are really and truly delicious. #Seriously good enough to eat. #If he can keep this up, he’s an #All-Star and the #Knicks are above average by default.

> #Barrett didn’t have a great game, with 12 points on 4-15 shooting. #But, as usual, he didn’t let his cold stroke stop him from trying to help in other ways. #In addition to digging deep for some big buckets late, #Barrett posted 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.

> #Frank #Ntilikina continues to try and carve out a role for himself off the bench. #He took advantage of the opportunity presented by the absences of DSJ and #Immanuel #Quickley, playing 16 rock solid minutes and finishing with 5 points (2-5 from the field including 1-3 from deep), 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

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> #Kevin #Knox (6 points on 2-3 from the field and 1 rebounds in 16 minutes) continues to look competent. #Not better than that, nor worse. #Simply competent. #Which marks a major improvement.

> The #Knicks could really use some better dribblers. #Whenever #Elf was off the court, the #Cavs perked up on defense and made things really difficult for #Ntilikina, #Barrett, or whoever else was trying to bring the ball up the floor. The #Knicks were called for two separate eight second violations tonight, which is something that basically never happens.

> #Mitchell #Robinson, starting center, is correct. #Mitch had himself a solid overall night, finishing with 9 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks. #He didn’t pick up his first foul until late in the second quarter, and was generally good about fouling until late in the fourth when he was called for three quick fouls in what felt like three seconds.

> #New #York turned the ball over 25 times and shot 13-21 from the free throw line. #Most of the time, that crap won’t fly.

#Tonight, however, that crap did fly. #It flew thanks to #Julius #Randle, who has had to handle a ton of heat since signing with the #Knicks as a consolation prize two summers ago. #Randle, who is only 26-years-old, could still theoretically be part of the team’s future, but he might also be traded at some point if his value continues to soar.

The future is for the birds, though. #Tonight is a night to celebrate. #As #Ewing #Finger #Roll of #Doom put it: ‘Dear #Julius, we’re sorry.’

The #Knicks play next on #New #Year’s #Eve against the #Raptors in #Tampa, because we’re still in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic and #Toronto can’t play home games in their home arena right now. #Crazy stuff. #Tip off is 7:30.

#Stay safe out there, and #Happy #New #Year everyone!





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##Knicks ##Cavaliers ##Dear ##Julius

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