CLEVELAND: The Cavs have struggled to build even one 18-point lead most of this season. They managed to do it twice Tuesday against the New York Knicks.
Kyrie Irving had 37 points and 11 assists and the Cavs beat the Knicks 109-94 for their most lopsided win of the season. They have won four of their last five games and four in a row at home.
Jarrett Jack had 17 points, Tristan Thompson had 12 points and 9 rebounds despite battling foul trouble in the first half and C.J. Miles broke out of his shooting funk with 10 points and a couple of 3-pointers.
The Cavs had to rely on their starters heavily in the second half because the bench gave away the first 18-point lead, forcing them to build it all over again.
The Cavs scored 22 of 26 points during a seven-minute stretch in the first quarter to take a 27-9 lead, but the reserves gave it all back. The Cavs managed seven baskets and eight turnovers in the second quarter, including two turnovers each from Jack and Dion Waiters.
The Cavs had turnovers on four consecutive possessions and five of six in the second quarter, allowing the Knicks to score 11 consecutive points and tie the game at 40 on a basket by Carmelo Anthony with 3:26 left in the half. But the Knicks could never wrestle away the lead.
Burned by his bench once, Mike Brown all but ignored it in the third quarter. The only sub he made was bringing in Anderson Varejao for Andrew Bynum with 3 ½ minutes left because that’s about as long as Bynum can play right now under team orders.
The rest of the quarter belonged to the starters and the Cavs pushed the lead back out to 16 entering the fourth.
Thompson, limited to just 7 ½ minutes in the first half by foul trouble, played the entire second half until Brown finally subbed him out with 1:38 left and the Cavs comfortably ahead by 16.
The 15-point decision ended a wild three-game swing for the Knicks that included a 30-point win over the Nets, a 38-point win over the Magic and a 41-point loss to the Celtics.