For the first time in a decade, the New York Knicks are advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Knicks capped off their series victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 106-95 victory in Game 5 on Wednesday night. They'll now face the winner of the series between the No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks and No. 8 Miami Heat in the second round.
As he has throughout the series, Jalen Brunson led the way for the Knicks in the closeout win over the Cavs. The star guard tallied 23 points, four assists and four rebounds, while R.J. Barrett added 21 points, four rebounds and four assists of his own. Immanuel Quickley also had 19 points off of the bench for New York.
Cleveland's backcourt of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland combined for 49 points, but their production ultimately wasn't enough to extend Cleveland's campaign. After a promising regular season, the Cavs will now be tasked with improving their roster over the offseason.
The last time the Knicks advanced to the second round was during the 2012-13 season. Mike Woodson was the coach of the team at that time, and Carmelo Anthony was the leading scorer. That team lost to the Pacers in six games in the conference semis. The Knicks haven't advanced to the conference finals since 1999.
New York didn't escape their series with the Cavs scot free, however. Star forward Julius Randle was forced leave Game 5 after injuring his left ankle during the closing minutes of the first half, and he never returned.
Randle injured the ankle while trying to contest a jump shot from Cavs guard Caris LeVert. He landed awkwardly and remained on the court for a couple of minutes before checking out of the game and retreating to the locker room. You can see the play where the injury occurred below:
Randle had a solid first half prior to the injury. In 16 minutes of action, he had 13 points, six assists and four rebounds, and he helped New York establish a lead that they never relinquished.
This appears to be a re-aggravation of an existing injury, as Randle previously sprained his left ankle late in March and missed the final five games of the regular season as a result. He rehabbed very hard to be back in time for postseason play, but such an approach leaves you susceptible to re-injury.
Randle's health will be a main concern for New York moving forward, as the Knicks will certainly hope to have the two-time All-Star available for their next series.