New Yorkers wanted LeBron to light up the Garden. Tonight it wasn’t that type of party because this proved to be the epitome of a team win.
Everyone got into the act on offense as each player on the active roster scored. Yes, James led everyone with 26 points, but ultimately it was a balanced effort as Delonte West chipped in 16 and Wally Szczerbiak added 15.
But defense won this game for the Cavaliers. Through three quarters, they dominated the boards 40-31. It was only after bench players got significant amount of playing time did the Knicks close the gap in that area.
Talk about steals as the Cavs gathered nine to the Knicks’ two and in the area of blocked shots, Cleveland got eight to New York’s one. In all due fairness, the Knicks played with only an eight-man rotation, but in the past this is the type of game that the Cavs would struggle to win. For a change they showed signs of having a killer instinct as the got up big and despite a team’s efforts to get back into the game, answered back.
In short: take it.
From the locker room:
Coach Mike Brown on developing a killer instinct:
That’s something we have to continue to try to get better with. Tonight we did a decent job. We got up big against Atlanta. They had a nice little run. We got up big again tonight and I thought we did a decent job of staying focused.
At the half:
Yeah, this one’s ugly. The Cavaliers lead 67-38 due the to the fact that the Knicks are playing a small line-up, the way Mike D’Antoni likes to play and are playing fundamentally sloppy basketball. Let’s not take anything away from the Cavaliers, however. They know that this is an undermanned team and they’re taking advantage of it in all aspects of the game – on the glass (31-23), defensively (7 blocked shots) and by playing nearly flawless ball themselves. Fro they half they only committed four turnovers.
WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters: Cavs: LeBron James (F); Ben Wallace (F); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); Delonte West (G); Mo Williams (G). Knicks: David Lee (F); Quentin Richardson (F); Wilson Chandler (F); Chris Duhon (G); Nate Robinson (G)
Injuries: Cavs: Eric Snow (knee); Knicks: Jared Jeffries (fractured fibula); Eddy Curry (sore right knee), Danilo Gallinari (sore lower back).
Officials: Monty McCutcheon, James Capers, Ron Olesiak
Streaking: Cavs and Knicks both have won one game. The Cavaliers have won nine of their last 10.
Three things to watch:
- Easy to say hard to do. Word just broke before tip-off that Cuttino Mobley passed a second physical related to his heart. By all accounts, this should be a rout, but funnier things have happened when the Cavaliers face a team shorthanded.
- Mo Wiliams has the Knicks Nate Robinson in height, but the Knicks’ pesky guard averages 16.6 points per game and five assists. He’s fast and dangerous. The 5-9 Robinson could present a unique challenge for Williams.
- The last time LeBron James played in Madison Square Garden, he dropped 50 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds on the Knicks, a feat so impressive that the home crowd gave him a semi-standing ovation. They want him. They covet him and, yes, he’s likely to feed off all that energy that the crowd will give him. In his last two games at the Garden last year he averaged 41 points, splitting the two-game series.
From the locker room:
LeBron James on his future:
I think right now, I just want to continue at task right now being with the Cavs and us getting better everyday. Us getting better everyday and trying to compete for an NBA championship,’’ he said when asked if he wanted to play for the Knicks someday. ‘’To bring that type of distraction to our team right now would be unfair to my team, my teammates, the rest of the coaching staff and the rest of the organization.’’