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Jalen Brunson exits with knee injury in Knicks victory over Cavs

Sarah Stier/Getty Images North America/TNS

The wins don’t get much bigger than this.

Jalen Brunson left Sunday’s matchup with an apparent knee injury on the game’s first possession, but the Knicks held on for a much-needed victory over the No. 2-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Brunson left the game on the Knicks’ opening possession.

The Knicks’ All-Star point guard came up hobbled after a mid-range pull-up jumper on New York’s first possession of the game on Sunday.

The Knicks were already down Julius Randle (dislocated right shoulder), OG Anunoby (right elbow surgery) and Mitchell Robinson (left ankle surgery) before team trainers helped Brunson to the locker room early into the first quarter.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau turned to reserve point guard Miles McBride, who played 47 minutes and finished with 16 points and five assists on four-of-nine shooting from downtown on the night.

CLEVELAND ALSO MISSED ALL-STAR GUARD DONOVAN MITCHELL SUNDAY NIGHT

Mitchell, who is averaging 28 points per game this season, missed his second straight game against the Knicks with a knee injury.

DIVO AND BOGEY STEPPED UP IN BRUNSON’S ABSENCE

Without Brunson, who is averaging 27.7 points per game, starting guard Donte DiVincenzo and reserve forward Bojan Bogdanovic picked up the scoring slack.

DiVincenzo scored a game-high 28 points and made six threes on the night, and Bogdanovic added 20 off the bench on 8-of-15 shooting from the field.

Sam Merrill hit seven threes for the Cavaliers, but no Cleveland starter scored 20 points against the Knicks.

Former All-Star point guard Darius Garland shot five-of-eight from downtown for 19 points, but Knicks forward Josh Hart triple-doubled with 13 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists in Cleveland on Sunday.

Isaiah Hartenstein (left Achilles tendinopathy) played 23 minutes and finished with eight points, seven rebounds and eight assists, and the Knicks secured a victory after losing eight of the 11 games entering Sunday night.

NEW YORK’S SCHEDULE GETS TOUGHER FROM HERE

The Knicks were underdogs against the No. 2 Cavaliers before both Mitchell and Brunson were ruled out due to injury.

Five of New York’s next seven opponents boast records above-.500.

The Knicks are now 13-23 against teams with winning records after Sunday’s victory over the Cavaliers.

New York retained its standing as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and knocked Cleveland down to No. 3 in the East.

The Milwaukee Bucks are now second in the conference after Sunday’s action.

The Knicks enter Monday a half-game in front of the Philadelphia 76ers, who are without MVP center Joel Embiid (meniscus surgery).

New York is a game in front of the Orlando Magic, a game-and-a-half in front of the Miami Heat and and 2.5 games in front of the Indiana Pacers. They have a 7.5-game cushion on the ninth-place Chicago Bulls.

Next up, the Knicks face the tenth-place Atlanta Hawks, who are without All-Star guard Trae Young, who is out for a month with a hand injury.

The Hawks game is part of a four-game home stand at Madison Square Garden: The Knicks will also host the Orlando Magic, then play the Philadelphia 76ers twice in three days.

The Knicks then embark on a four-game road trip: at Portland, at Sacramento, at Golden State and at Denver.

Anunoby is expected to return to New York’s rotation in mid-to-late March, but if Brunson is out an extended period of time after Sunday’s knee injury, the Knicks could have bigger fish to fry if their floor general can’t suit up.