Written by William Lee
“In 1970, Cleveland’s newspaper, The Plain Dealer, held a contest to name the city’s new basketball club. Contest winner Jerry Tomko wrote that the Cavaliers “represent a group of daring, fearless men, whose life’s pact was never surrender, no matter what the odds.” via NBA.com. It is probably safe to say Mr. Tomko would be disappointed in this season’s 16-29 Cleveland Cavaliers team. Probably even disappointed, in hearing new rumors that surfaced this week that team captain “Kyrie Irving has been telling people privately he wants out,” according to ESPN insider Chad Ford.
The Cavaliers sure looked like a group of people that surrendered, easily and with little resistance at that, in Thursday night’s 117-86 defeat at the hands of a suddenly hot New York Knicks team. New York was leading by double figures within four minutes of tip off. Cleveland would be down by as many as 29 points in the second quarter, and as many as 31 points in the second half. The Cavaliers showed little fight, barely even denting the Knicks’ lead, even though New York went cold in the second half of the second quarter, going without a field goal for over five minutes. New York led 60-36 at half time, even with the mini draught.
Carmelo Anthony erupted in the first quarter for 18 points, looked like he was on pace for another historical night. Any thoughts of another magical 62 point game performance were quickly squashed, as Mike Woodson wisely rested his superstar in an early blowout game to start the second quarter. Anthony finished the game with a very effective 29 points in 30 minutes of play.
Anthony again had plenty of help from his teammates, with four other Knicks in double digit scoring as well. J.R. Smith stepped into the starting lineup, and filled in admirably, with Iman Shumpert shoulder injury keeping him sidelined. Smith scored 19 points in his start, and just toyed with the Cavaliers, most notable was when Smith crossed over the number one pick Anthony Bennett, and drove baseline for a spectacular one handed slam dunk. Smith would again put another Cavalier on skates with his fancy dribbling, flooring Tristan Thompson with his handles. With Smith in the starting lineup, Tim Hardaway Jr. filled in as sixth man and dropped 29 points off the bench, connecting on six three-pointers!
The New York Knicks are dead last in points in the paint per game around the Association with 33.9 per game. The Cavaliers put up little resistance, as the Knicks got to the paint early and often, scoring 14 points in the paint in the first quarter, finishing with 38 when it was all said and done. Knicks are also dead last in team fast break points per game, with 7.7 points, and the Cavaliers gave up an astonishing 22 fast break points to New York Thursday night (relatively astonishing). Cleveland’s All Star point guard Kyrie Irving had a terrible night, as he had the worst +/- in the game with a -29. Irving needed 25 attempts to score 24 points, and misfired on 15 field goals. Irving wasn’t the only Cavalier held in check, as the whole team was a dreadful 35.6% from the field.