CLEVELAND — Kevin Love scored 20 points – nine straight in a 3-point barrage in just over a minute – and Darius Garland had 12 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers survived a late rally by New York to beat the Knicks 95-93 on Monday night.
Down by 15 in the fourth quarter, the Knicks rallied but came up short as Julius Randle’s 38-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer was way short.
Garland hit a late 3-pointer, rookie Evan Mobley had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Isaac Okoro scored 14 points for the Cavs, who have won seven of eight and played much better after a sloppy win over Oklahoma City on Saturday.
RJ Barrett scored 24 points and Randle 18 for the Knicks. New York had several chances in the final two minutes, but Immanuel Quickly missed an ill-advised 3-pointer (he was 1 of 10 from the field) and Barrett was long on a 3.
Love, who has embraced his role as a reserve this season, scored 14 in the third quarter as the Cavs built a 14-point lead. The five-time All-Star dropped his three 3-pointers in a span of 67 seconds in the third.
After his final make, coming on Garland’s 11th assist, Love wrapped his arms around Cleveland’s young point guard during a timeout as the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse crowd roared.
The Cavs led 86-71 with 9:41 left after Dean Wade dropped a 3-pointer.
But the Knicks fought back as Barrett, Quentin Grimes and Obi Toppin made 3-pointers in an 11-0 burst. New York caught Cleveland when Randle muscled way his to the hoop for a layup to tie it 91-all.
Garland countered with a 3-pointer in the corner – he finished with 13 points – and the Cavs did just enough to hang on.
Toppin, who played at Dayton and had some vocal supporters on hand, gave the Knicks a spark early in the second quarter. He knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and scored on a layup to fuel a 13-2 run that gave New York a 36-30 lead.
Knicks: Went 11 of 21 on free throws. … C Mitchell Robinson sat out with a sprained right ankle sustained on Sunday against the Clippers. … Derrick Rose remains sidelined with a right ankle sprain. He last played on Dec. 16.
Cavaliers: Were missing two-thirds of their ‘tall ball’ lineup as both center Jarrett Allen (illness) and 7-foot forward Lauri Markkanen (ankle) sat out. Markkanen got hurt Saturday. The team is maintaining he’s day to day, but it’s safe to assume he’ll likely miss multiple games, if not weeks. … Former Cavs guard José Calderón attended his first game since being added to the front office as a special advisor. Calderón played the 2017-18 season with Cleveland.
Knicks: Continue their three-game trip Wednesday at Miami.
Cavaliers: Host the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.
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