Jalen Brunson leads Knicks past Cavaliers to take series lead at MSG

The New York Knicks (5) crushed the Cleveland Cavaliers (4) Friday at Madison Square Garden to regain the first-round series and move closer to the next stage of the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

Knicks guard Jalen Brunson scored a team-high 21 points in a defensive showdown that saw New York score nearly twice as many points as Cleveland in the second quarter and led by as many as 30 points.

Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell has high hopes for his new team: On paper, we look scary

Brunson, 26, added six assists, four rebounds and two steals. He shot 10-for-18 from the field, but missed all four attempts from beyond the arc.

RJ Barrett, meanwhile, broke out of his shooting slump hitting three of six shots from deep to finish the night with 19 points. The Knicks forward had only scored two of his last 20 attempts from outside.

Barrett, 22, also helped hold Donovan Mitchell to 22 points. His perimeter defense will be key moving forward if New York wants to move past Cleveland.

Darius Garland struggles for Cavaliers vs. Knicks

Darius Garland once again struggled shooting, going 4-for-21 from the floor en route to just 10 points.

Garland, 23, led Cleveland in scoring with 32 points on Wednesday. The Eastern Conference duel continues to lean in favor of the Knicks, with four wins in the last five games against the Cavs, including regular season.

Josh Hart added 13 points for the Knicks, who became the first team to allow less than 80 points, during the regular season or playoffs, this year.

Julius Randle will look to bounce back from his 11-point night, going 3-for-15 from the floor and 2-for-10 from the three. Game 4 tipoff is scheduled for Sunday at 10:00 PT from MSG.