Cavs Rounding Third and Headed Home

Cavs Pull Away from Knicks, Eye Third Seed with Regular Season Finale on Deck
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Wrap-Up -- The shorthanded Knicks gave the Cavaliers a tough test on Monday night. But when the Association’s tournament tips off this weekend and the dust settles on the seedings, it won’t matter if Cleveland won by four points or 14.

It was the latter, as the Wine & Gold pulled past a pesky Knicks team late – running away with the 123-109 win on Monday night in Madison Square Garden, winning their 50th contest and the Central Division crown in the process.

All three accomplishments are nice, but the Cavs have the bigger picture in sight – eyeing the 3rd-seed in the Eastern Conference Playoff picture with a Wednesday night rematch against New York at The Q and the Sixers facing a back-to-back against Atlanta and Milwaukee remaining in the regular season.

Kevin Love looked locked in for the postseason on Monday – leading both teams with 28 points, going 9-for-17 from the floor, including 6-of-13 from three-point range, adding five boards and a pair of steals.

LeBron James, playing in his 81st game of the season and wrapping up his 10th straight divisional title, was right behind – adding 26 points on 7-for-16 shooting, going 3-of-6 from long-distance and 9-of-10 from the stripe, adding a game-high 11 assists and a steal.

The Knicks, who waved the white flag on this season long ago and were playing without Kristaps Porzningis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Enes Kanter, never let the Cavaliers get comfortable. New York actually outshot Cleveland – 53 percent to 47 percent – but the Cavs canned 19 triples and were 24-of-28 from the stripe; the Knicks made 11 treys, but drained just six free throws in a dozen trips to the stripe.

The Cavaliers got excellent bench production – with JR Smith catching fire in the first half and Jordan Clarkson finishing the job after intermission.

In the second quarter alone, Smith helped the Cavaliers build their lead – notching nine of his 16 points on 3-for-5 shooting in the period. On the night, Swish went 6-for-13 from the floor, including 4-of-8 from deep to go with seven boards, four assists and a pair of steals.

JR Smith


Smith and Clarkson combine for 32 points off the bench in the victory.

Clarkson helped the Cavs put the finishing touches on New York – netting 11 of his 16 points in the final period – going 3-for-3 from long-distance in the period and 4-of-6 overall.

Jeff Green cooled down after a scorching two-game stretch, but still finished in double-figures with 10 points on 3-for-6 shooting. Larry Nance Jr. notched double-figures for the first time since March 23, chipping in with 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting, adding six boards and a block.

Michael Beasley led the Knicks with 20 points, going 8-for-13 from the floor to go with four boards, three assists and three steals. Rookie guard Frank Ntilikina finished with a career-high 17 points, but tallied 10 of those in the opening quarter.

Turning Point -- The Cavaliers led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter and it looked like they might be able to cruise home against a Lottery-bound Knicks squad.

But New York kept clawing back in the fourth quarter, and Trey Burke’s triple with less than four minutes to play got the Knicks to within six at 106-100.

But with 2:29 to play, Jordan Clarkson got into a groove – canning back-to-back three-pointers to give the Cavaliers a 12-point edge. Courtney Lee answered with a triple for the Knicks, but LeBron drilled a bomb on the other end to ice the victory in New York.

By the Numbers.511, .548, .889 … Kevin Love’s shooting percentage (23-45), three-point percentage (17-31) and free throw percentage (16-18) over his last four games.

QuotableJR Smith, on his current role with the Cavs …

”This is probably the most comfortable roll I’ve fit in since my career started in the NBA. For the majority of my career, I’ve been a sixth man type of guy coming off of the bench. It’s easier to revert back than it is for some guys. I like it. I play pretty much the same game, but more in tune on offense and then just try to direct the younger guys where to go.”

Up Next -- The Wine & Gold wrap up the regular season with Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday – taking on these same Knicks in the finale. The 2018 Playoffs begin this weekend – with either the Pacers, Heat or Wizards coming to The Q to begin the journey.

Calls of the Game

#CavsKnicks Postgame Wrap-Up presented by Rocket Mortgage

Cavs.com's Fred McLeod checks in from the Big Apple to wrap-up the Wine & Gold's victory against the Knicks on Monday.

Cavs at Knicks - April 9, 2018

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#CavsKnicks Postgame Wrap-Up presented by Rocket Mortgage

Cavs.com's Fred McLeod checks in from the Big Apple to wrap-up the Wine & Gold's victory against the Knicks on Monday.
Apr 10, 2018  |  03:30

#CavsKnicks Postgame: LeBron James - April 9, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Monday's 123-109 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Apr 10, 2018  |  05:22

#CavsKnicks Postgame: JR Smith - April 9, 2018

Cavaliers guard JR Smith spoke with the media following Monday's 123-109 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Apr 9, 2018  |  03:09

#CavsKnicks Postgame: Larry Nance Jr. - April 9, 2018

Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. spoke with the media following Monday's 123-109 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Apr 9, 2018  |  02:22

#CavsKnicks Postgame: Coach Lue - April 9, 2018

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Monday's 123-109 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Apr 9, 2018  |  05:13

#CavsKnicks Postgame: Kevin Love - April 9, 2018

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love spoke with the media following Monday's 123-109 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Apr 9, 2018  |  02:34

#CavsKnicks On-Court Postgame: Kevin Love - April 9, 2018

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love spoke with FOX Sports Ohio's Allie Clifton following Monday's 123-109 victory over the New York Knicks at the Madison Square Garden.
Apr 9, 2018  |  01:39

Clarkson Drops it off to T.T.

Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson work the two-man game as J.C. drops it off to T.T. for the jam.
Apr 9, 2018  |  00:09

Nance Jr. with the Fast Break Flush

The Wine & Gold get loose on the fast break as LeBron James dishes to Larry Nance Jr. for the flush.
Apr 9, 2018  |  00:16

LBJ No-Look Dimes Nance Jr.

LeBron James throws the pretty no-look dime to Larry Nance Jr. for the easy dunk.
Apr 9, 2018  |  00:17

KLove with the Tough Reverse Finish

LeBron James finds a cutting Kevin Love for the difficult reverse finish.
Apr 9, 2018  |  00:12

LBJ Skies for the Slam

LeBron James abuses the rim with this high-flying slam.
Apr 9, 2018  |  00:23

Swish with the Dish to Tristan

JR Smith gets fancy with the dime to Tristan Thompson for the easy finish at the rim in this 'More Driven' highlight driven by Goodyear.
Apr 9, 2018  |  00:22

Featured Highlight: Swish Lobs Nance Jr.

JR Smith throws the high-handoff to Larry Nance Jr. who skies high for the alley-oop finish.
Apr 9, 2018  |  00:21

Kevin Love Scores 28 In Win Vs. Knicks | April 9th, 2018

Kevin Love connects on six 3-pointers to help him score a game-high 28 points.
Apr 9, 2018  |  57:00

LeBron James Scores 26 In Win Vs. Knicks | April 9th, 2018

LeBron James scores 26 points, dishes 11 assists, and grabs 6 rebounds in his return to Madison Square Garden.
Apr 9, 2018  |  01:00

Jordan Clarkson Joins GameTime via Arena Link

Jordan Clarkson joins GameTime via arena link to discuss the Cavaliers' win over the Knicks and the team's mindset heading into the postseason.
Apr 9, 2018  |  36:00

#CavsKnicks Shootaround: LeBron James - April 9, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media prior to Monday's shootaround at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Apr 9, 2018  |  05:05

GAME RECAP: Cavaliers 123, Knicks 109

LeBron James records 26 points and 11 assists while Kevin Love scores 28 points as the Cavaliers defeat the Knicks 123-109. Frank Ntilikina scored a season-high 17 points for New York in the loss.
Apr 9, 2018  |  00:00

Coach Lue Checks in from Sunday's Practice in NYC

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Sunday's practice in New York City.
Apr 8, 2018  |  02:32

George Hill Gives an Update on His Status

Cavaliers guard George Hill spoke with the media following Sunday's practice in New York City.
Apr 8, 2018  |  01:58