Knicks' Late Surge Sinks Cavs

Shorthanded Cavaliers Drop Seventh Straight
Donald Sloan
The shorthanded Cavs had the Knicks – and the end of their losing streak – in striking distance with just over five minutes to play. But Cleveland couldn’t close the deal.

The Wine and Gold – minus rookie guard Kyrie Irving, a late scratch – pulled to within four, 76-72, on Samardo Samuels’ layup with 5:19 to play. But the Knicks, battling injury issues of their own, closed the game on 15-3 run – handing the Cavaliers the 91-75 loss, their seventh straight.

The Cavaliers were without Irving, who dressed but didn’t see action due to a sprained right shoulder he suffered on Friday night against Milwaukee. The Knicks, already dealing with the loss of Amare Stoudemire, learned on Saturday that Jeremy Lin suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee and will be out around six weeks.

Irving is one of the league’s top scorers in the fourth quarter and its best in the final three minutes. The cool-shooting Cavaliers could’ve used that – netting just one field goal in the final five minutes.

“I thought we played hard,” said Coach Scott. “We didn’t know until we sat down and talked to Kyrie that he wasn’t going to play, and the players didn’t know that, but I thought they came out and gave a heck of an effort.”

Antawn Jamison led the Wine and Gold with 13 points on 5-for-15 shooting. Jamison tied a team-high with seven boards. The other Cavalier with seven boards was Donald Sloan, who got the start two weeks after inking a deal with the team. Sloan added 10 points, four boards and a pair of steals.

Alonzo Gee pitched in with 12 points, six boards and two assists. Anthony Parker was the only other Cavalier to notch double figures, finishing with 10 points on 4-for-10 shooting.

In the Cavaliers’ February 29 loss at the Garden, Steve Novak came off New York’s bench to ignite the Knicks. On Saturday, it was J.R. Smith.

Smith, acquired by Knicks in February, scored 12 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter. Carmelo Anthony finished with 19 points and Tyson Chandler doubled-up with 14 points and a dozen boards.

As former Cavalier radio voice Joe Tait might say: They won’t be sending Saturday’s game film to Springfield. Neither team shot 40 percent for the evening. The top assist man for either team was Baron Davis with five.

After playing five games in seven days, Byron Scott’s banged-up squad gets their last two-day break of the season. On Tuesday night, they welcome the Spurs before hitting the road for three straight.

  • The Knicks have had some recent success – beating Cleveland in three of their last four meetings. But the Cavs have still won 13 of the last 17 meetings between the two.

  • Since former Cavalier assistant Mike Woodson took over the Knicks post, the squad’s won nine of 11.

    With the injuries to Irving and Daniel Gibson, a pair of late additions saw some big minutes on Saturday. Donald Sloan, signed on March 16, had his first double-digit effort as a Cavalier and tied for the team lead in boards. Lester Hudson, inked on Friday, has seen action in both games. Hudson had six rebounds of his own.

    “I like what I saw, I really did,” praised Coach Scott. “I thought Donald did a real great job running the show, getting guys the ball when they needed it. Being able to break down defenders and get to the basket. I was real happy with the way he played and very happy with the way Lester (Hudson) played. It was his second game just being with us for the last couple of days; I thought he did some real good things as well.”