Written by William Lee
Knicks at Cavaliers 10/30/14
The Knicks starts off the season against the two candidates most likely to face off in the Eastern Conference finals. One night after getting demolished by the Chicago Bulls in the home opener, New York played the spoiler role, ruining Cleveland’s home opener, and the return of the King’s homecoming.
The game started right where the Knicks left off last night, no defense to speak of…allowing a wide open layup under the rim by Kevin Love. Carmelo Anthony righted the ship, scoring the first six points for the Knicks to take an early lead. Anthony looked a lot more aggressive Thursday night, making quick decisions instead of being passive and forcing it to his teammates like he did the night before.
On this night it was Lebron James who looked to be passive, forcing passes to his teammates in his first game back with the Cavaliers since the infamous Decision. Lebron finished the first quarter with more turnovers (3) than points (2). Instead it was his new running mate Kevin Love that imposed his will early on, registering 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assist in the opening period. We got treated to what will for sure be a consistent ESPN Top 10 Plays, anytime the Cavaliers take the court, when Cleveland went up 14-8 on a Kevin Love outlet pass to Lebron James. Love finished the game with 19 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assist.
Cleveland lead by as many as 11 points, although New York quickly got back into the game midway through the second quarter on an 8-0 run, cutting into the deficit 33-30. Lebron continued to struggle in the second quarter, having as many turnovers as points (4) by the end of the first half. New York really shared the basketball well in the first half, with ten players registering points on the box score.
After a disastrous third quarter outing the night before against Chicago, New York made a concerted effort to not repeat this Thursday night. The Knicks held Cleveland to without a field goal for the first five minutes to begin the second half, going on an 11-4 run to take a 53-48 lead. New York was extremely efficient in the third quarter, converting on 66% of their shots, and scoring on six straight possessions at one point, including a Pablo Prigioni 30 foot desperation shot that gave the Knicks a 59-55 lead.
Cleveland reclaimed the lead early in the fourth quarter, starting the last period on a 6-2 run to take a 70-69 lead. The lead was short lived as the Knicks answered with an 11-1 run, capped by a Carmelo Anthony three to give New York an 80-71 lead with 6:19 remaining in the game.
Cleveland quickly got back into the game with back to back threes to cut into New York’s lead 88-83 with a little over two minutes left in the game. The Knicks then took a time out, only to draw up a 24 second shot clock violation… Kyrie Irving quickly attacked, getting to the rim easily for a layup to make it a three point game, 88-85 with 1:43 left in the game. The Knicks then gets away with an eight seconds violation bringing the ball up against Cleveland’s full court press. It luckily worked out with J.R. Smith scrambling into the lane, putting up a floater.
Cleveland called timeout, and Lebron got to the rim easily for a layup because Anthony just got out of the way to avoid fouling out of the game. Anthony on the ensuing possession would answer back, drawing down the clock, knocking down a clutch baseline jumper to give the Knicks a 92-87 lead with 25.9 seconds left in the game. New York would hold on for a stunning 95-90 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It was the Carmelo Anthony, and J.R. Smith show in the fourth quarter, as the duo combined for 17 of the 28 points scored in the fourth quarter, including the 15 out of the last 18 points to end the game. Anthony finished the game with 25 points and 6 assist. The triangle offense is definitely helping Anthony share the ball more, as Anthony recorded 6 or more assist only seven times last season. Lebron had a terrible night, in what can only be chalked up to nerves, recording the worst +/- with -13, and almost recording a double double with turnovers, throwing the ball away eight times. Safe to say this will not occur again.