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Wrap-Up – The funk that fell upon the Cavaliers on their recent homestand followed them to the Big Apple on Thursday night, as the Knicks built a double-digit lead early in the first quarter and never looked back, handing Cleveland its third straight defeat – a 117-86 loss at Madison Square Garden.
Kyrie Irving led three Cavaliers in double-figures with 24 points, going 10-of-25 from the floor. Luol Deng doubled-up with 13 points and 11 boards. Dion Waiters came off the bench to tally 16 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter. CJ Miles went 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, finishing with nine points in the loss.
The Cavaliers shot just 36 percent from the floor as compared to 57 percent for the Knicks. New York out-ran Cleveland on the fastbreak, 22-8, and featured five players in double-figures – including Carmelo Anthony and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr., who netted 29 points apiece.
Turning Point – The Cavs suffered through a tough quarter in third period on Sunday and the second on Tuesday, but on Thursday at the Garden, the Wine and Gold got jumped just minutes after the opening tip. Carmelo Anthony hit a fadeaway 17-footer at the 7:45 mark in the first quarter to put New York up ten, 17-7. The Cavaliers didn’t cut it to single-figures the rest of the way.
Game Ball – Kyrie Irving – The Cavaliers All-Star topped the 20-point plateau for the sixth time in his last seven outings with Thursday’s effort, adding six boards and three assists and committing just a pair of miscues in 39 minutes of floor time.
By the Numbers – .916 … Kyrie Irving’s free throw percentage over the last eight games, going 33-for-36 from the stripe during that stretch.
Quotable – Luol Deng, on what it’ll take for the Cavs to shake out of their slump …
”You just have to fight. It’s one thing to lose, to play hard and to lose. And it’s another thing to just let the team do whatever they want. As a person, as a man, at some point you just have to stand up and battle, play your heart out.”
Up Next – After closing the month of January in New York, the Cavaliers mini-road trip rolls on as the Wine and Gold travel to Texas for a pair. They face off against Dwight Howard and the Rockets for the first time this season on Saturday night. On Monday, it’s a rematch with Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks in Big D. When the Cavaliers return home, they’ll welcome the Lakers to The Q on Wednesday night.