Drummond leads Cavs past New York
CLEVELAND — 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.
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 straight. The Knicks used a 16-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to go in front 84-80.
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.
Cleveland center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince — acquired from Brooklyn — were inactive because all players in the three-team deal involving James Harden on Thursday 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 with 3:15 left in the third on a basket by Larry Nance Jr. New York immediately answered with 16 straight points, capped by back-to-back buckets by Randle to go up four.
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.
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,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “When you add in the COVID factor, it’s definitely the right move not to play those games.”
Cavaliers: Host Brooklyn on Wednesday. The Nets will play back-to-back games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Jan. 20 and 22.
POSTPONED GAMES: Another three NBA games were postponed Friday, including one in Minnesota only a couple hours before game time, as the league’s struggle with increasing coronavirus numbers continued.
Among the revelations Friday: Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, whose mother and six other relatives have died from COVID-19, said he has tested positive. The Washington Wizards said that they have six players who are positive as well, and another three players out because contact tracing data suggested they could have been exposed.
The Timberwolves’ game with the Memphis Grizzlies was called off, as were what would have been Wizards’ home games Sunday and Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The current tally of postponements: 13 since the start of the season, 12 of them — involving 16 of the NBA’s 30 teams — since Sunday alone. Washington has seen four of its games pushed back, Boston and Phoenix have had three postponements. The Celtics returned to the floor Friday night against Orlando, Boston’s first game in a week.
Miami — which lost two games at Philadelphia this week with only eight players available — could get as many as six of its eight COVID-affected players who have missed time this week, largely because of contact tracing, back today for a game against Detroit.