If you take away the first half of the first quarter when the Cavs looked flatter than day old beer, then this could have been their best outing yet.
They shot 51 percent from the floor. Scored 56 points in the paint. Held the Knicks to just 39 percent shooting from the floor, blocked eight shots and stole the ball 18 times. The result: Cavs 118, Knicks 82.
So lemme get this straight. This is the franchise that New Yorkers and the Big Apple media expect to draw James? The way they look now, the Knicks won’t be close to a contending for a championship in 2020, let alone 2010. Some would argue that James and another superstar’s presence might change that, but the way it looks now that’s huge leap of faith.
The Cavaliers won this because of defense, once again. They contested every shot and held New York to just 29 percent shooting (they average over 37 percent) from the 3-point arc.
The Cavs also received some serious help from referees. They went to the free throw line 30 times to the Knicks 10, hitting 87 percent from there.
With this win they officially have the best opening in the team’s history.
From the locker room:
Coach Mike Brown on his team’s play to start the first quarter:
‘’I thought we were a little lackadaisical with the basketball. Not only that, I didn’t think we were engaged mentally in what we should have been doing on both ends of the floor, especially offense. ‘I don’t know what it is, but our guys responded and they played the right way, almost from that point on.’’
From the locker room:
LeBron James on the team’s defensive play:
We love to get stops. We love to turn the heat up on teams. Not even allowing them to make runs. You always here about how teams are going to make a run. We try to not even allow it to happen lately.
Cavs lead 61-35
Hmmm, did the Knicks get off the plane? The only thing any sane person can think after watching a half of this is that the Knicks are seriously bad or the Cavs are that good. Let’s split the difference and call it a bit of both.
At one point, a New York journalist sitting next to me screamed because he thought the Cavs should be leading by more. Five minutes later they were up by 20.
They dominated in all areas of game, but they’re really getting the best of the Knicks at the free throw line. The Cavs hit the charity stripe 18 times in the first half to the Knicks’ three trips.
The Cavaliers continue their hot shooting in general knocking down 54 percent of their shots.
Off the bench Anderson Varejao is active on the boards with eight rebounds and he also has nine points. If the cavs don’t win this, they will only have themselves to blame. Somehow, I don’t see them losing as a possibility. Stranger things have happened.
Game: Cavs (15-3) vs. New York Knicks (8-10)
Radio: 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: Wilson Chandler (F); Al Harrington (F); David Lee (C); Quentin Richardson (G); Chris Duhon (G)
Officials: Sean Corbin, Mark Lindsay, Rodney Mott
Streaking: Cavaliers have won five in a row, 10 consecutive at home. The Knicks have lost one in a row and their last two meetings against the Cavaliers.
Three things to watch:
- With the Knicks it’s whether the team has build any cohesiveness since their big salary cap clearing trade of a couple weeks ago. They’ve been up and down since that trade, running typical Mark D’Antoni offense while in the process giving up plenty of points on the defensive end of the floor.- Watch the Cavs perimeter defense. The Knicks are ranked 9th in the league in 3-point field goal percentage with more 37 percent of shots made. They have little problem with hoisting the ball up and chucking it from beyond the line.
- Watch to see how the Cavs come out to start this game. With three days between contests, they could come out flat.
From the coach’s office:
Mike Brown on the possibility that the team could win its first 10 home games of the season:
‘’Obviously I want to because it’s going to help our record and I like to win, but if we win and our weak side (defense) is terrible, we’re going to watch tape on our weak side. It’s great to get records. It’s great to win, but I don’t look at stuff like that. I’m like this is our next one, let’s got get it.’’
From the locker room:
Mo Williams on whether the brouhaha surrounding LeBron James is a distraction:
‘’It hasn’t come up in our locker room. We’re not concerned. Believe it or not, that’s a long time from now. A lot of things can happen between those two years. We have a lot of things to do and a lot of goals for us in those two years.’’