The New York Knicks advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals on Wednesday night, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-95 in Game 5. Here’s what you need to know:
- It was the Knicks’ first playoff series win since 2012-13. Jalen Brunson led New York with 23 points.
- Knicks forward Julius Randle left the game late in the first half with a sprained left ankle and did not return. He recorded 13 points, four rebounds and six assists before leaving.
- The Knicks will play the winner of the Bucks-heat series in the conference semifinals.
Can the Knicks win without Randle?
They have already shown they can. Not only did they bench Randle in the second half against Cleveland, but Randle dominated most of the series without looking like the All-Star version of himself. The ankle sprain came out of nowhere. Randle sprained the same ankle late in the regular season and returned for Game 1 against the Cavs. But apart from a few bright flashes, he hasn’t impacted the team in the same way.
He shot just 32 percent from the field through the first four games of the series and didn’t finish Game 4. So yes, they can win without him. But they’re certainly worse off without him, especially if he’s capable of performing like he did in the first half of Game 5, when he aggressively drove to the hoop, dished out six assists and scored 13 points in 16 minutes earlier. injury — Gods
If Randle misses time, how can the Knicks fill the gaps?
Opie Dauphin could start in his place. Toppin started the second half of Game 5. But he’s not the only Knicks regular with whom coach Tom Thibodeau is comfortable playing the four. Josh Hart finished Game 5 there. Thibodeau praises his physicality and rebounding skills against bigger players. The Knicks went small with RJ Barrett four times, a look they could use with their bench unit. — Gods
The Cavs’ streak of struggles continues
For most of the game, it was the same issues that plagued the Cavs throughout this series. They struggled to limit the Knicks’ second-chance opportunities as the Knicks scored 14 second-chance points in the first half of the game. They did to a certain extent in the second half of the game, allowing just six second-chance points, but it was too late. — Rousseau
Knicks dominate the Cavs on the glass
The Knicks crushed the Cavs on the boards. They outrebounded Cleveland 48-30. Not only did the Knicks have 17 offensive rebounds, but the Cavs held the Cavs out of second-chance opportunities with 31 defensive rebounds, and the Cavs had just four offensive rebounds and three second-chance points. Hart (12) and Mitchell Robinson (18) outscored Cleveland’s picks Evan Mobley (9) and Jared Allen (4). — Rousseau
Turnovers hurt the Cavs
On the offensive end of the floor, the Cavs again struggled with turnovers. They finished the game with 13, which turned into 12 points for the Knicks. They struggled to secure the ball and convert attacking possessions. — Rousseau
Randle sprained his left ankle on March 29 against the Miami Heat. Randle did not play another game during the regular season. His first game was Game 1 against the Cavaliers, where he scored 19 points on 7-for-20 shooting from the floor.
During the regular season, Randle averaged 25.1 points, 10 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 46 percent. The Knicks entered the NBA playoffs with a 47-35 record, finishing 5th in the Eastern Conference.
The highlight of the game
2023 NBA Playoff Bracket
(Photo: Kirk Irwin / Getty Images)