CLEVELAND (WJW / AP) – The Cleveland Cavaliers were back in playoffs action for Game 3, but in a sloppy scoring matchup again the New York Knicks, the Cavs fell short 79-99 Friday night.
After coming off a win on their home court earlier this week, the Cavs were looking for a repeat in New York, which didn’t happen.
It was a rocky start as both teams struggled to make baskets early in the first quarter. The Cavs and Knicks stayed neck and neck, ending the quarter tied 17-17.
The Cavs started falling behind in the second quarter, and with help from a dunk by Knicks’ Jalen Brunson, New York held a 45-32 lead at the half.
Even after coming back from the locker room, the Cavs haven’t been able to catch up on the Knicks, who led 72-55 at the end of the third.
Things did not improve for Cleveland in the fourth, who lost to New York 79-99.
Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points for the Cavs, who never gave themselves a chance with their most inept offensive performance of the season. They hadn’t been held below 80 points all season, with their worst effort 81 points, also at the Knicks on Dec. 4.
Darius Garland, who scored 32 points in Game 2, managed just 10 on 4-for-21 shooting. Caris LeVert, moved into the starting lineup after scoring 24 in that 107-90 victory, missed all six shots in the first half before coming on late for 17 points.
Garland left the game for a time in the fourth quarter after hurting his ankle when he stepped on a photographer behind the basket.
Barrett was just 6 for 25 in the first two games but his shot was falling and he aggressively drove to the basket to get himself going. Plus, some of the Cavs’ 21 turnovers sent Barrett and the Knicks off to easy transition baskets.
Check out some photos from Game 3 in the gallery below.
Fans gathered inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for a watch party before the game.
The matchup was in stark contrast to Tuesday. Thanks in part to a powerful performance by Garland, which he credits to a pep talk from Mitchell, the Cavs held off New York 107-90 in Game 2.
The Cavaliers are now behind 1-2 against the Knicks as the NBA playoffs returned to Madison Square Garden for just the second time in the past decade. The Cavs have to win at least once on one of basketball’s most famed stages to regain home-court advantage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.