Cavs: Daniel Gibson, Sasha Pavlovic, LeBron James, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas Knicks: Jamal Crawford, Fred Jones, Quentin Richardson, Zach Randolph, Eddy Curry
--Ladies and gents, this could be a wild night at the Garden. I am actually looking forward to experiencing it. The Daily News ran "Fire Isiah" signs in the paper for people to hold up tonight. The fans are out for blood. The players are pissed Thomas called them out in the media the other day. Whoa, it's like watching a train wreck. --Before the game, LeBron said he felt bad for Isiah and that the Knicks don't give effort more nights and that he'd never allow that on his team. Considering he ripped Stephon Marbury a few weeks ago, you can assume he's not a huge fan of the Knicks team. I assume his comments will be splashed everywhere tomorrow. --Several Cavs joked in the locker room that they should wear helmets in case the fans start throwing stuff on the floor. Of course, that won't happen unless the Cavs actually win the game. --The Knicks are a terrible defensive team and they often are selfish on offense. However, they do have good post scorers and streaky shooters. So if the Cavs play the defense they did last time they were here (last week vs. Jersey) they can easily get beat. If they work hard on defense like they have the last two nights, they will be in good shape. --LeBron has never really had a big game in the Garden. He's really not had a great game since he's been back from injury. Does that make him due? We'll see.
Halftime -- Knicks 63, Cavs 50 --Pretty sad referendum on the Cavs considering the Knicks are playing harder than them. Especially David Lee, who has 17 points and eight rebounds in the half. He is a crowd favorite and he has gotten the crowd to forget about Isiah for awhile. Overall, the Knicks are much, much more aggressive than the Cavs. Reminds me of several other games I have seen of late. --LeBron started out very strong and aggressive but then with four minutes left in the first quarter he seemed to get him on his left hand going for a rebound. Then he had a collision with Zach Randolph and he's seemed to be a little different player since. He's not attacking the pick-and-rolls, he's waiting for the double teams. Sort of like against the Sixers. --It was pretty easy to see that Isiah is trying to send a message to a few players. Eddy Curry played just two minutes and he rode Malik Rose and Lee, two guys who are known for always playing hard, a bunch. Basically, he's not putting his most talented team out there, he's putting his hardest working team. It is working against the Cavs. --The Cavs gave up 58 percent shooting in the first half and are getting killed in transition. The Knicks have been hot from the outside, but slow rotations and slow-footed big men have hurt them. Ilgauskas and Anderson Varejao are in foul trouble and Gooden couldn't begin to stop Lee. Cavs are on pace for 100 points, that should be enough to win. Same old story, here.
Postgame -- Knicks 108, Cavs 90
Stars David Lee, 22 points, 11 rebounds Jamal Crawford, 21 points, six assists LeBron James, 32 points, eight rebounds, six assists, six steals
--The Rev. Jesse Jackson came to the Cavs locker room after the game. Perhaps he wanted to speak to them about their defensive boycott. --Here's how bad the Cavs were tonight...The Knicks got a standing ovation. --56 percent shooting, 50 points in the paint, 22 points off turnovers. Seen all of this before...this was the sixth time the Cavs lost by 18 points or more. For detail analysis, please refer to any of the posts from those games. Same story. --The Nets have two wins in their last eight games, both the against the Cavs. The Knicks haven't beaten anyone by more than eight points until tonight. They love the Cavs here in the NY/NJ metro. --In case you were wondering Larry Hughes is 11-of-45 in the last four games. Sasha Pavlovic is 6-of-24. --So which was the Cavs focusless play of the nights was your favorite: A. Calling a fulltime out and thinking it was a 20-second timeout, so they stood on the court arguing about it while the Knicks were still in their huddle. B. Sasha Pavlovic's perfect bounce pass to a cutting Nate Robinson for a layup. C. LeBron arguing with the ref over a call as a Knick scored a layup right behind him. --Though LeBron can't be faulted tonight. He played hard and tried to get the Cavs back in the game. He was more than a little frustrated with his teammates, although he's getting beat a fair amount in defensive rotation, too. --I saw some complaining in the comments about LeBron coming out in the third quarter. For the record, he asked to come out with three minutes left and it took almost two minutes before he could. He was gassed at that point. Plus you can't make a comeback if you can't get stops. --It is fair at this point to start to question Mike Brown. He has openly said that he didn't devote enough time to defense in training camp and it's hurting the team. Ultimately, it is his responsibility to fix it. But these are the same players as last year. Yes, the team could use some upgrades at the offensive end, starting with a point guard. But defensively, these guys know how to play better and they aren't and some of the blame has to go there.
Quotes: Mike Brown: "We think it is going to be easy, like we can show up and win the game. If guys on our team think we defended tonight, we're going to be in trouble." LeBron: "They beat us pretty bad, we had no answer for them defensively and they took advantage of it. It doesn't matter who you are playing against, if you don't play defense you're going to get beat up." Isiah: "We want everybody leaving the arena feeling good and feeling like they had a good time."
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