The New York Knicks returned to Madison Square Garden for Game 3 of their playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They did not disappoint the home crowd, stifling the Cavaliers’ offense with an unreal defensive performance.
Cleveland scored 107 points in a Game 2 victory over New York. Friday’s game would be an entirely different story.
The Cavs struggled all game long to get into a rhythm offensively. They went into the half with just 32 points while shooting 2-19 on three-point attempts.
The Knicks' defense held the Cavs to 32 points in the first half 🗜️ pic.twitter.com/7JwchrY36v
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 22, 2023
They would improve slightly on those numbers in the second half, but it wouldn’t be enough to make much of an impact on the end result.
New York ended up holding the Cavaliers to 79 points in a blowout victory. It is the first time that any team has been held under 80 points this season.
Knicks dominate the Cavaliers to take a 2-1 lead. Cleveland becomes first team all year (regular season and playoffs) to be held under 80 points. pic.twitter.com/tK6j4rpxeX
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) April 22, 2023
Cavs star Darius Garland had a particularly poor performance, finishing the game with just ten points while shooting 4-for-21 from the field. This comes just one game after he finished with a game-high 32 points.
While some may blame an off-shooting night for these struggles for Cleveland, they were also forced into 20 turnovers by the Knicks.
Many took to social media to credit the Knicks for their terrific defensive effort.
No NBA team has scored under 80 points this season.
Until tonight. KNICKS DEFENSE. pic.twitter.com/7HLF06rK8c
— KnicksMuse (@KnicksMuse) April 22, 2023
Knicks defense tonight was a throwback to the 90s Knicks #NewYorkForever
— Michael Ball (@Michael44004861) April 22, 2023
The Cleveland Cavalier — in game 3 of the first round — were the first team this season to be held under 80 points. Knicks defense is back. pic.twitter.com/HX9Tb6UZ9J
— Phil (Dixon) (@FilipmyCup) April 22, 2023
Winning 2 playoff games for the first time in 10 years! What a feeling!
The team adjusted after loss. Made a better effort to pass out of the traps. RJ stepped up big time! The help defense was on point! Thibs with the tactical instead of rotational adjustments!#Knicks
— Vivek (@vdadhania) April 22, 2023
Through three quarters, the Knicks lead the Cavaliers 72-55.
• Barrett 19 & 8, 8-12 FGs
• Brunson 16-4-4
• Randle 11-8-3
• Mitchell 20 & 7
Cavs shooting 37-22-46 with 14 turnovers. Even the Knicks' free-throw defense is on point.
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) April 22, 2023
Knicks/Cavs being a series of "yeah there are these offensive question marks but deal with this defense" is hilarious.
— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) April 22, 2023
Knicks fans are as passionate as any fan base in sports. This year’s team appears to have a real chance of accomplishing something that the organization has not done in over ten years, which is to win a playoff series.
They will look to keep their momentum going at MSG and pick up another big victory in Game 4 on Sunday.