Drummond has 33 points, 23 boards as Cavs top Knicks 106-103
“He was awesome”
CLEVELAND (AP) — Andre Drummond tied his career high with 33 points and grabbed 23 rebounds, and Cedi Osman scored 25 points in leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 106-103 win over the New York Knicks on Friday night.
Drummond posted the Cavaliers’ first 30-20 game since Carlos Boozer had 32 points and 20 rebounds against Seattle on Jan. 20, 2004. He also had three assists, two blocks and two steals as Cleveland snapped a three-game losing streak.
“I can’t speak enough about what Dre did, I thought he was awesome,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “He can punish you and when he plays with that determination and that force, there aren’t many people who can stop him one-on-one.”
Julius Randle had 28 points and six assists, rookie Immanuel Quigley scored a season-high 23 points and R.J. Barrett had 20 points for New York, which lost its fifth in a row. The Knicks used a 16-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to go in front 84-80.
Drummond, a 54% career foul shooter, made 13 of 19 free throws. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and could be on the move sooner after Cleveland added center Jarrett Allen in a trade with Brooklyn.
“If I do get traded, I can’t control that,” said Drummond, who leads the NBA in rebounding for the fifth straight season. “I know that I love the guys that are here and I’m having a lot of fun. You have to play hard every night because they go all-out for 48 minutes.”
Bickerstaff admitted that talk of a potential Drummond trade could be distracting to the Cavaliers.
“The optics are obvious, but Dre and I have built a great relationship based on trust,” he said. “Dre knows his worth and you can obviously see what he’s capable of.”
Osman and Drummond each made steals in the final 31 seconds, preventing New York from getting closer than three points at 102-99. Rookie Isaac Okoro sealed the win with two free throws, making it 105-101 with 7.3 seconds remaining.
“Those turnovers were costly and we need to understand that the intensity in that part of the game is different,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We’ll keep evaluating and finding the best combinations to move forward. Everything is on the table.”
Allen and forward Taurean Prince — acquired from Brooklyn — were inactive because all players in the three-team deal involving James Harden have not taken their physicals.
The Cavaliers remain without three starters in five-time All-Star forward Kevin Love (right calf strain) and guards Collin Sexton (left ankle sprain) and Darius Garland (right shoulder sprain).
Cleveland took its largest lead at 80-68 in the third, but New York immediately answered with 16 straight points, capped by back-to-back buckets by Randle.
Drummond posted 20 points and 14 rebounds in the first half for the initial time in his nine-year career, helping Cleveland take a 57-55 lead into the break.
Knicks forward Reggie Bullock returned after missing two games with a sore right hip, scoring four points.
The Cavaliers’ next two games were postponed by the NBA because the Wizards do not have the minimum eight available players. Cleveland was slated to play in Washington on Sunday and Monday, which was already problematic because of heightened security in the nation’s capital. “The city of D.C. logistically would have been a nightmare,” Bickerstaff said. “When you add in the COVID factor, it’s definitely the right move not to play those games.”
Knicks: G Frank Ntilikina (right knee sprain) missed his ninth straight game and will be “out a while longer,” according to Thibodeau. Ntilikina was injured Dec. 29 in Cleveland. ... G Alec Burks (left ankle sprain), who last played Dec. 27 against Milwaukee, has been upgraded to day to day. Thibodeau said Burks has advanced to conditioning and is getting close to returning.
Cavaliers: F Kevin Porter Jr. (personal reasons) joined his teammates on the bench for the first time this season. The second-year pro remains in limbo after an offseason arrest in Eastern Ohio. ... Bickerstaff is excited to have Allen on his roster. “What excites me the most is Jarrett’s ability to impact the game at both ends of the floor without the ball in his hands,” he said.
Knicks: Visit Boston on Sunday. New York has lost five straight to the Celtics, including a 104-102 defeat at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 1.
Cavaliers: Host Brooklyn on Wednesday. The Nets will play back-to-back games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Jan. 20 and 22.
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