Notebook: Knicks 102, Cavaliers 97



Posted Mar 4, 2013 11:46 PM

Brian Dulik, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Power forward Amar'e Stoudemire scored 22 points and shooting guard J.R. Smith collected 18 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists as the New York Knicks stormed back to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-97. New York rallied from a 22-point deficit despite losing small forward Carmelo Anthony to a right knee injury in the second quarter. Center Marreese Speights scored a game-high 23 points for Cleveland, while point guard Kyrie Irving had 22 points and six assists. The Knicks snapped their 10-game losing streak at Quicken Loans Arena, dating back to Nov. 29, 2006.

QUOTABLE: "I was about ready to leave the arena with the way the Cavs were shooting the ball at first. We couldn't get stops. It was awful. But after we got down 22, we started to fight. And after we lost 'Melo, we really, really started to fight."
-- Knicks coach Mike Woodson.

THE STAT: The Knicks' six substitutes combined to outscore their starting lineup 70-32. No New York starter reached double digits in points, but Stoudemire, Smith, small forward Steve Novak (15), and point guard Jason Kidd (12) all did off the bench. "It really showed a lot of heart from everybody the way we came back," said Knicks starting point guard Raymond Felton, who had eight points and 10 assists. "Once we cut (Cleveland's lead) down to 12 by halftime, we were all thinking, 'It's a ballgame or something.' Everybody stepped up tonight, especially those guys."

TURNING POINT: The Cavaliers built a 52-30 lead just 4 1/2 minutes into the second quarter by making 22 of their first 27 shots (81.5 percent). Anthony exited less than one minute later after slipping near midcourt -- and New York's rally was on. Stoudemire made two free throws to start a 10-0 run that helped the Knicks pull within 61-49 at the half. New York eventually went ahead for good at 90-87 on a Kidd 3-pointer with 4:58 left in the fourth. It marked the Knicks' first comeback win from 20 or more points down since Dec. 18, 2009 against the Clippers.

QUOTABLE II: "It's human nature (to ease up with a big lead), but that goes back to this being a learning experience for our team. A couple of guys were getting tired, and you could see it out there. Our lack of intensity kind of cost us."
-- Cavaliers point guard Irving.

HOT: Stoudemire scored 12 points in the second half, while Smith and Novak each had 11 as the Knicks outscored the Cavaliers 53-36. ... Novak was 3-for-5 on 3-pointers, raising his season percentage to .440, which ranks sixth in the NBA. ... Atlantic Division leader New York is 36-21 and pulled within 1 1/2 games of Indiana for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. ... Cleveland power forward Luke Walton dished out a career-high 12 assists in 29 minutes. ... Speights scored 21 points in the first half. He is the first NBA player to shoot 10-for-10 in a half since Chicago point guard Derrick Rose against Oklahoma City on March 18, 2009.

NOT: Knicks small forward James White started, but only played four minutes and scored two points before being benched for the rest of the night. The third-year pro has one basket and two points over his last four contests. ... Anthony was 1-for-5 shooting with three turnovers before being hurt. The six-time NBA All-Star said he has been battling stiffness in his right knee "for a while now." ... Cavaliers shooting guard Wayne Ellington made his first start with the team, but was 2-for-7 from the field with zero assists. ... Cleveland shot 15-for-46 (32.6 percent) over the final 31 1/2 minutes. ... Speights went 0-for-4 from the field in the second half.

QUOTABLE III: "(My knee is) just sore -- not pain -- sore and stiffness. They did manual tests, like ligament tests and there's no problems. It was just real tight, real sore in the back. I didn't really have the control I wanted to in that leg tonight."
-- 'Melo.

GOOD MOVE: Stoudemire has been placed on a strict 30-minute per game limit by the Knicks' medical staff because of his chronic left knee problems. Woodson used him for 32 against the Cavaliers because he was so effective. Stoudemire shot 10-for-15 and grabbed six rebounds. "Amar'e was fantastic, and he stepped up and played tonight," Woodson said. "I went over his limit a little bit, so oops."

BAD MOVE: Cavaliers coach Byron Scott inexplicably used small forward Alonzo Gee to guard Stoudemire one-on-one for four minutes late in the fourth quarter -- not Speights -- with disastrous defensive results. "I've been a competitor my whole career and I've had a lot of success in this league so far," Stoudemire said. "Whenever my number is called, I'll be ready, and tonight I was ready."

NOTABLE: Anthony said an MRI taken late last week showed no structural damage to his right knee. He did not rule out playing Wednesday in Detroit. ... Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters (flu) and center Tyler Zeller (flu) spent time in the hospital Saturday after falling ill and were not in uniform. ... Irving returned to action after missing three games with a hyperextended right knee.

UP NEXT: For the Knicks, Wednesday @ Detroit, Thursday vs. Oklahoma City, Saturday vs. Utah. For the Cavaliers, Wednesday vs. Utah, Friday vs. Memphis, Sunday @ Toronto.