NEW YORK (AP) — Rookie guard Immanuel Quickley scored 25 points off the bench, leading the New York Knicks to a 102-81 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.
Quickley was one of five players to score in double figures for New York, which snapped a three-game losing streak. R.J. Barrett scored 24 points, Julius Randle finished with 16 and Austin Rivers 13.
While New York appeared to get back on track, Cleveland lost for the third time in four games. Darius Garland scored 24 points, Collin Sexton added 17 and Jarrett Allen 15.
“We just didn’t bring it tonight,” Garland said.
New York’s defense proved troublesome for Cleveland, which was held to a season low in points.
After a sluggish opening 12 minutes, the Knicks went into the half with a 47-33 lead. New York outscored the Cavaliers 28-16 in the second quarter and limited Cleveland to 6-of-19 shooting from the field.
For the game, New York held the Cavaliers to 34.9% shooting.
“We harp on being one of the top defensive teams in the league,” Quickley said, later adding the Knicks are “trying to get in the playoffs this year.” The last time New York qualified for the playoffs was in 2012-13.
While Cleveland was misfiring, the Knicks built on their advantage. New York ended the third quarter on a 12-1 run, highlighted by Quickley’s 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left that extended the lead to 72-55.
Quickley’s alley-oop to Nerlens Noel for a one-handed slam with 8:29 left in the fourth allowed New York to stretch the lead to 19 at 84-65.
“He’s always been good,” Barrett said of Quickley. “He’s playing hard. He’s making plays.”
Cavaliers: Entering Friday’s game, the Cavaliers ranked second in the NBA with a 1.21 points per possession in transition, and their 59.1% field goal accuracy in transition leads the league. Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff pointed to his small unit as a reason for his team’s success in transition. “They’re fast,” Bickerstaff said before the game. “That gives us an opportunity to play in transition in the broken floor. They can space the floor. We have guys who can shoot it. And then especially when you put guys who can attack the rim like our bigs can in pick-and-roll, and you give them more space that’s beneficial for us.”
Knicks: Prior to the game, New York head coach Tom Thibodeau paid homage to John Chaney, the legendary Temple University coach who died Friday. Thibodeau was an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1994-95 and 1995-96 and grew to admire Chaney. “I got to know him a little bit,” Thibodeau said. “He was just a brilliant, brilliant coach.” … Thibodeau said Frank Ntilikina is “getting there,” as the third-year guard recuperates from a sprained right knee. Ntilikina, who suffered the injury in the Knicks’ 95-86 win over the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Dec. 29, is averaging 4.5 points in four games this season, and is scheduled to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season. “He’s moving well in practice,” Thibodeau said. … The Knicks held a moment of silence for Harthorne Wingo, who passed away on Jan. 20 but whose death became known Tuesday. He was 73. Wingo played for New York from 1972-76, and was a member of the franchise’s last championship-winning team in 1972-73.
Cavaliers: Travel to Minnesota on Sunday night.
Knicks: Hosts the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday afternoon.
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