Julius Randle turned out the lights as Isaiah Hartenstein came up with a big defensive play down the stretch as the New York Knicks ended their four-game losing streak.
Hartenstein frustrated Donovan Mitchell twice in the final minute — the latter turning out to be the biggest difference-maker — to preserve Randle’s big night as the Knicks held on for a gutsy 105-103 win Tuesday night against a sold-out Madison Square Garden. garden crowd.
A Knicks shot clock violation with 15.4 seconds left opened the back door for the Cavaliers. But Hartenstein came to Randle’s aid and blocked Mitchell’s drive with 4.4 seconds left. Evan Mobley grabbed the offensive rebound but missed a quick shot at the buzzer.
“I thought Isaiah[Hartenstein]put on a huge play with him [his] verticals,” said New York coach Tom Thibodeau.
Randle scored 17 first-quarter points and tied a career-high eight tackles on his way to another huge double-double effort with 36 and 13 rebounds along with four assists.
Despite the exciting start, the Knicks again let a double-digit lead.
Cleveland came back from a 13-point deficit to take an eight-point lead in the third quarter. This time, however, New York fought back with a 19-6 final run in the final 4:58 of the quarter to grab five points, 80-75.
Obe Tobin’s five quick points gave the Knicks another double-double lead early in the fourth quarter. But Mitchell refused to roll over and die, leading to an angry Cavaliers mob. The Westchester native tallied nine of his 24 points in the final quarter, but fell short when it mattered.
The Knicks win was much needed, as they improved to 26-23 and maintained a 1.5-game lead over the rival Atlanta Hawks (24-24) for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks will continue to a grueling seven-game series with road games in Boston on Thursday and Brooklyn on Saturday.
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