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The New York Knicks went back to Ohio and the Cleveland Cavaliers were gone.

New Yorkers old and new rose to the occasion in the first chance to earn a clinching victory in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Cavaliers, as the Knicks' 106-95 triumph was their fateful fourth in best-of-seven series, ending it in five games.

Behind further offensive dueling from Jalen Brunson (23 points) and RJ Barrett (21), the Knicks earned their first NBA playoff advancement since 2013's opening round. Individual interior history came from Mitchell Robinson, whose 11 offensive rebounds allowed him to become just the third Knick to secure double figures in second chances, joining Charles Oakley (three times) and Patrick Ewing.

New York now awaits the eighth-seeded Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, their opponent having completed a five-game upset of the top-ranked Milwaukee Bucks hours after the Knicks handled business in Ohio. It'll mark the sixth series in the storied rivalry between New York and Miami with the Knicks prevailing in three of the first five matchups (as well as three of four get-togethers this season).

Game 1 of the Knicks-Heat series is slated for Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden (1 p.m. ET, ABC).

The five-game triumph is also the Knicks' quickest in a best-of-seven series since disposing of Atlanta in four during the 1999 conference semifinals. New York continued its postseason dominance of Cleveland, remaining perfect in four series against the Cavs (previously winning in 1978, 1995, and 1996).

New York earned the win without the services of Julius Randle in the second half, as the All-Star limped to the locker room in the penultimate minute of the first half after injuring the same ankle that cost him in the final five games of the regular season. Obi Toppin responded to another extended minutes challenge, stepping for Randle to score 12 points in the third quarter that saw the Knicks lead by as much as 18. 

Randle continued to struggle from the field in the early going but dished out a first-half best six assists and sank each of his final three attempts to score 13 points as part of the Knicks' foundational lead. The injury occurred when he tried to defend a Caris LeVert triple and rolled his ankle. Randle was one of two starters missing for the Knicks with Quentin Grimes missing his second consecutive contest.

Thus ends the Cavs' championship dream, their first LeBron James-free postseason excursion since 1998. Beating the Cavaliers carries a hint of irony, as many chastised the Knicks for not doing more to secure the services of perennial All-Star Donovan Mitchell, who came east in a blockbuster deal with the Utah Jazz that included newly-minted Most Improved Player Lauri Markkanen. Mitchell led the Cavs with 28 points though he needed 26 attempts from the field to reach that tally.

Granted a chance to clinch the series early after sweeping a weekend pair at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks took an early lead and never looked back. Brunson and Barrett did most of their damage in the first half, uniting for an 11-of-17 output from the field over the first 24 while the Cavs' top options Mitchell and Darius Garland united to shoot 1-of-8 from deep. 

While the Knicks' offensive output beyond Toppin drastically cooled after shooting 52 percent in the first half (going 9-of-34 over the final 24 beyond Toppin's third quarter showcase), they broke the Cavaliers will with clutch offensive rebounding that drew spiteful boos from a hometown crowd seeking its first playoff series victory since the 2018 conference finals. 

With a dozen from the newest Knick Josh Hart (playing 47 minutes while going in the starting five for Grimes again), he and Robinson pulled down a combined 30. Immanuel Quickley likewise began to regain his offensive rhythm, getting 19 off the bench. 

A Garden party of a new variety awaits the Knicks when the Heat come to town, as New York owns homecourt advantage in an NBA Playoff series for the first time since 2013's conference semifinals (a futile six-game trek against Indiana). 

With the Heat fueled by the high-scoring services of Jimmy Butler (fresh off a 56-point performance and a dramatic game-tying basket in the final wins over Milwaukee), the Knicks face a formidable challenge, evidenced by the close encounters they've had with the Heat this season. None of the four regular season meetings were decided by double-figures and the Knicks used those to wins to secure their spot on the proper Eastern bracket. 

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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