The Knicks jumped out to a 12-point lead after the first quarter against the Cavaliers on Monday and never looked back, coming away with a 123-105 win at Madison Square Garden.
Head coach David Fizdale was impressed with the all-around effort, but focused on a main point of emphasis as the team's reason for success in the game.
"The biggest thing is that we protected the paint," Fizdale said. "That's been our biggest emphasis. We finally did a solid job against the speed guards. I thought our guys really took the challenge against Collin [Sexton] and Darius [Garland]. Our bigs did a good job of sliding our feet."
The Knicks clearly had a gameplan defensively coming into the contest, opting to give up the three-pointer rather and pack the paint down low. Cleveland put up a whopping 36 threes and made 17, but the Knicks outscored the Cavs in the paint by a 20-point margin, 54-34.
Damyean Dotson picked up 11 points in 18 minutes off the bench and, though he acknowledged his role as a defense and energy guy, isn't concerned with the amount of three-point looks the Knicks gave up.
"We're protecting the paint. We've got to give up something. Our whole goal is to protect the paint. We do have to get to shooters, but our main goal is protecting down low and making them spread it out."
Mitchell Robinson, always active around the rim on both sides of the ball, blocked four shots in just 17 minutes. Marcus Morris chipped in with two blocks while RJ Barrett added two of his own. The Knicks had 10 blocks overall in the game.
"That's the goal all season," Dotson said of the plan on defense. "Guys get open and they make the right pass so it's tough. But we're trying to protect the paint."