Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks were down Quentin Grimes’ strong wing defense in Game 4 but it didn’t matter. New York still won a tough, gritty battle against the Cleveland Cavaliers by a final score of 102-93. Jalen Brunson led the way with 29 points and six assists, including five threes.

The Knicks have a 3-1 series lead and can punch their ticket to the East Semifinals in Cleveland in Wednesday’s Game 5.

Some takeaways:

Where’s Randle? Noticeably absent from the lineup during Game 4’s home stretch was Julius Randle. He struggled for the second game in a row and had just seven points with two rebounds in 27 minutes. Randle did not play in the fourth quarter.

It’s important to remember that Randle playing in this series at all is something of a surprise. He played well in the first two games but was still visibly slowed by the sprained ankle he suffered last month. New York has played without him but if the Knicks win Game 5, they’ll really need Randle healthy for the next round.

Barrett comes back for more. RJ Barrett followed his strong 19-point effort in Game 3 with an even better Game 4. The streaky wing finished with 26 points, doing a ton of damage in the paint.

Barrett’s ongoing effort in the playoffs is key for the Knicks, especially since Randle doesn’t look fully healthy. If he’s heating up, the Knicks clinch in Game 5, and Randle has more time to heal, then New York could be in line for an exciting second round.

New York’s Boarding House. This might as well be Madison Square Garden’s new nickname after this series. The Knicks once again dominated Cleveland on the boards and had 47 rebounds to the Cavs’ 33. Frontcourt tandem Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen were a combined -9 in Game 4.

This is going to be a problem for the Cavaliers even if they wind up forcing a Game 7. Even with the league’s top defense, they don’t have enough size besides Mobley and Allen to compete with the Knicks. Add no depth behind Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, and Cleveland’s chances are looking pretty bleak.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.