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Mitchell, Love rally Cavaliers past Knicks, 121-108

Knicks forward Julius Randle, second from left, grabs the ball against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Dean Wade.
Knicks forward Julius Randle, second from left, grabs the ball against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Dean Wade.
AP Photo/Nick Cammett

The Knicks failed to trade for Donovan Mitchell in the offseason, and the acquired Cavaliers guard made them pay on Sunday night. 

Mitchell had 38 points and a career-high 12 assists, Kevin Love scored 16 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied to beat the New York Knicks 121-108 on Sunday night.

Mitchell and Love combined for 28 points in the final period as Cleveland outscored New York 37-15. Love made five 3-pointers and Mitchell scored 12 points — both also had four-point plays — in rallying the Cavaliers from a nine-point deficit.

Cleveland made 23 3-pointers in a franchise-record 50 attempts. Mitchell and Love each went 8 for 13 beyond the arc, while Dean Wade was 6 for 8 and scored a career-high 22 points.

“This team never loses its fight,” Love said. “Sometimes, you have to win ugly and we did that tonight. Donovan was finding guys out there, I was finding guys out there, Dean made big shots, and we just got rolling. It’s amazing playing with these guys.”

Evan Mobley added 16 points for the Cavaliers, who won have won five straight since dropping their season opener in Toronto. Love also absorbed a pair of charges, one of them from Julius Randle in the fourth.

Jalen Brunson had 12 points and three assists in the third, giving the Knicks their largest lead at 93-84 going into the fourth. Brunson and Evan Fournier finished with 16 points apiece, while Randle and RJ Barrett each had 15 for New York.

“Games like this reveal exactly where we are and exactly what we have to do to win,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Cleveland is playing great basketball. That team is playing great basketball.”

The Cavaliers also received six points and a game-high 13 rebounds from All-Star center Jarrett Allen and eight assists from Caris LeVert. Mitchell and LeVert each had 41 points Friday night in a 132-123 overtime win in Boston.

Three-time All-Star Mitchell scored 15 points on five 3-pointers in the first quarter, helping the Cavaliers take a 10-point lead over his hometown team.

Mitchell believed he would be traded to the Knicks over the summer, only to have Cleveland swoop in with a better offer on Sept. 1. Utah received Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, rookie Ochai Agbaji, three first-round draft choices and two pick swaps in return.

“Donovan was not going to let us lose this game,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “At both ends, he did the job. He is a complete basketball player. This dude is elite. I don’t know what he can’t do on the floor.”

All-Star point guard Darius Garland missed his fifth consecutive game for Cleveland with a left eye laceration. Garland has not played since being poked in the eye by Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. on Oct. 19.

The Knicks have lost four straight at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and is 47-64 in Cleveland. The team will now host the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. 

The Knicks are now 3–3 on the season. 

For more coverage of the Knicks, head to amNY.com.

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