Knicks Drop Cavs at The Q
Wrap-Up – The Cavaliers didn’t have to worry about squandering a big lead to New York on Friday night. In their final matchup of the year, the red-hot Knicks jumped out to a double-digit lead late in the second quarter and barely looked back – handing Cleveland the 101-91 loss at The Q.
The Cavs shot 56 percent from the floor in the first quarter but still trailed by three. After Carmelo Anthony notched 11 of his 31 points in the first quarter, J.R. Smith was a perfect 5-for-5 in the following period, netting 11 of his 31 in the second. On the night, Melo went 12-for-24 from the field, adding 14 boards. Smith was 13-of-16 for the Knicks, who won for the 14th time in their last 15 outings.
For the Wine and Gold, Kyrie Irving had another strong offensive outing – going 11-for-27 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the stripe for a team-high 31 points, adding six assists, five boards and just a single turnover in 36 minutes of action. Tristan Thompson added 15 points and 11 boards. Wayne Ellington chipped in with 13 points and a team-high three steals and Alonzo Gee rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 12 points.
Turning Point – Friday’s turning point was keyed by one person – J.R. Smith, who exploded in the second quarter. The Cavaliers cut New York’s lead to a single point early in the period, but Smith keyed a 13-0 run that gave the Knicks their first double-digit lead of the night. Cleveland got no closer than eight for the remainder of the contest.
Game Ball – Tristan Thompson – Thompson notched his 29th double-double of the season on Friday night, going 6-of-7 from the floor and snagging four of his 11 boards off the offensive glass. Over his last four contests, the sophomore from Texas is averaging 16.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.
By the Numbers – 41 …games that Tristan Thompson has now grabbed at least four offensive rebounds, tying him with Zach Randolph for tops in the league.
Quotable – Kyrie Irving, on the Cavaliers’ inability to exploit New York’s weakness …
“Going forward, we have to pay attention to our game plan. We wanted to push it. They’re last in the league in transition defense and we wanted to push it. The opportunities were there, we just didn’t take advantage of them.”
Up Next – The season is down to its final three games. The Cavaliers travel to Philly for a Sunday afternoon matchup. It’s the final home game of season and Fan Appreciation Night on Monday when the Heat roll in. Cleveland closes out the regular season on Wednesday night in Charlotte.