Final Dime: Knicks 123, Cavaliers 107

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J.J. Hickson led the Cavaliers with 23 points on Sunday night.
Nathaniel S. Butler
NBAE/Getty Images
1. After almost five years and 11 straight losses, the Knicks finally got past the Wine and Gold. But it wasn’t as easy as the final score might indicate.

The Knicks’ big three of Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups combined for 76 of New York’s 123 points as the Cavaliers dropped their third straight – a 123-107 decision on Sunday night at the Garden.

“It’s always hard to win – with our team right now, we’re so young and have so many missing pieces – but it makes it extremely hard to win when you have 23 turnovers,” said Coach Scott. “Tonight, we were just very careless with the basketball.”

The Knicks looked like they might run away with the affair early – running out to a 22-point first-half lead. But Baron Davis scored 11 straight points to cut New York’s edge in half heading into intermission.

The Cavaliers continued to chip away at New York’s lead in the second stanza, and when Samardo Samuels threw down a massive dunk over Jared Jeffries, the Wine and Gold were within a deuce,
77-75.

But a pair of turnovers – mixed with some questionable calls – gave the Knicks a second wind. Cleveland trailed by only five to start the fourth quarter, but Amare Stoudemire keyed a 12-0 run that put the game on ice, as the Knicks topped the Wine and Gold for the first time in four tries this season.

J.J. Hickson led the Cavaliers with 23 points, going 10-for-17 from the floor – adding eight boards and a steal.

Baron Davis followed up with 22 points – 12 of which he notched in the second quarter alone. Davis was 8-of-14 from the floor, including 5-for-8 from beyond the arc. The former Bruin added six assists and a pair of steals.

“When you’re battling back from 22 down, it takes a lot of your energy,” said Davis. “So, execution is a huge part of it and tonight, turnovers killed us.”

Alonzo Gee, drawing a tough assignment against Carmelo Anthony, finished with 11 points, four boards and a block. Anthony Parker had 11 points of his own, going 5-for-8 from the floor with five assists and four boards.

Ramon Sessions rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 10 points.

The Cavaliers shot 53 percent as a team, but hit just 53 percent of their free throws. Cleveland also turned the ball over 23 times, compared to just nine miscues for Mike D’Antoni’s squad.

The Wine and Gold return home for a Tuesday night matchup with Stephen Jackson and the Bobcats.



2. Samardo Samuels returned to the lineup after missing the previous three games with a right wrist sprain. Samuels, who moved to Queens, N.Y. at 13 years old, had his coming-out party in the Cavaliers previous win at the Garden. Samardo finished nine points and nine boards on Sunday.

3. Ramon Sessions has been almost as good off the bench as in a starting role. In 37 games off the bench, Sessions is averaging 4.5 assists per game – best mark in the NBA. The former Nevada start led both squads with eight helpers on Sunday.

4. Sunday’s loss snapped the Cavaliers’ 11-game win streak against New York – their longest against any opponent. Before Sunday, the last time New York topped Cleveland was November 29, 2006.

5. The Cavaliers played their final Sunday game of the season – thank goodness – after going 0-for-12 all season. Before the game, Coach Scott discussed the season-long “Sunday Funk.”

“The ‘Sunday Funk’ has always been at home, it seems like,” Coach quipped. “This is the first time we get to test it out on the road. I’m still a little nervous about that, because our Sundays we haven’t been there.”

The Cavs still dropped Sunday’s decision, but weren’t plagued by the lethargy that they’ve had at home.

6. Madison Square Garden is undergoing a major facelift – to the tune of $850 million. But while the place is being renovated, the Cavaliers had to come into the arena off the bus and, as a team, had to take a freight elevator/up three floors to reach the locker room. It was reminiscent of the “Hello, Cleveland!” scene in Spinal Tap.

7. In three starts against the Knicks this season, J.J. Hickson averaged 23.3 points and 10,3 boards per contest.

8. The NBA tipped off their annual “Green Week” on Sunday, but you can count out Byron Scott donning the gear. Right after speaking about his nemesis from his Lakers days – the Celtics – a reporter reminded Scott that his players will be wearing shirts that say “GREEN.”

“Yeah, I’m not wearing that crap,” Scott joked. “The players can wear that stuff. I’m taking mine home; use it to wash my car.”

The Cavs coach, kidding of course, wore a “Go Green” lapel pin on the sidelines.

9. Some of the celebrities seen courtside at the World’s Most Famous Arena: 50 Cent, Floyd Mayweather, Justin Bartha (the groom from The Hangover) Whoopi Goldberg, Larry Johnson, and from “The Howard Stern Show,” Gary “Baba-Booey” Dell’Abate and Fred Norris.

10. The Cavaliers return to Cleveland with the 2010-11 season boiling down to the final half-dozen games – three more on the road (at Toronto, Milwaukee and Detroit) three at home (Charlotte, Detroit and Washington in the finale).


Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.