New York basketball is alive and well. The Knicks have eliminated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Playoffs, marking their first series victory in ten years.
The Knicks entered Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Wednesday evening (April 26) with a 3-1 advantage, putting all of the pressure on Donovan Mitchell who had a rollercoaster performance throughout the series. The 26-year-old scored 28 points, his second-highest-scoring performance of the five-game set. Mitchell was supported by Darius Garland’s 21 points and Caris LeVert’s 17 points, the latter of which knocked down four three-pointers.
Still, it wasn’t enough to fend off 23 points from Jalen Brunson, 21 points from RJ Barrett, a monster 13 points and 18 rebounds performance from Mitchell Robinson, and 19 points from Immanuel Quickley. The Knicks finished this series in five games, winning 106-95, and now look ahead to their semifinals matchup with the Miami Heat on Sunday (April 30).
This series victory marks the second time in 23 years that the New York Knicks advance in the playoffs. In 2013, they were led by Carmelo Anthony and defeated the Boston Celtics in six games before being eliminated by the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. This year, they will be looking to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2000, and possibly even make the NBA Finals like they did in 1999.
Winning this playoff series was special for Brunson, whose father Rick Brunson was a former member of the New York Knicks.
“I thought about that today. It’s a really cool experience, knowing that my Dad played here,” Brunson said following the victory. “He didn’t lead that team, but he was on that team that got to the Finals. It’s special and the connection with my Dad and everything, it’s all full circle. It’s really special.”