CLEVELAND: Logic and sanity departed this lopsided series about the time LeBron James left town, yet the Cavaliers continue beating the New York Knicks.
So it should come as no surprise that Manny Harris dropped a half-court shot, Luke Harangody made his fourth 3-pointer of the season and the Cavaliers pounded the New York Knicks 98-90 on Friday.
The final spread was only eight, but this was certainly a pounding. The Cavs led by 19 with nine minutes left and still led by 14 in the final minute. They outrebounded the Knicks 52-32, thanks in part to Harris’ career-high 12 rebounds. Put it all together, and the Cavs beat the Knicks for the 10th consecutive time at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Knicks haven’t won here since Nov. 29, 2006, and right about the time Harris’ 42-foot heave banked off the backboard and fell through the net, it was pretty apparent the streak wasn’t ending on this night.
“I felt we had the game in hand when he throws up the bank shot,” coach Byron Scott said. “I said, ‘OK, I feel pretty good that we’re going to win the game.’ ”
The Cavs led 74-60 early in the fourth quarter with the shot clock running down when Harris had the ball near the scorer’s table, just a few steps inside of the half-court stripe. He heaved it toward the hoop just before the shot-clock buzzer sounded, then looked a little surprised when it actually went in. Scott, arms folded, merely chuckled from the bench.
Harris said he was actually trying to swish it, so while his aim was dead on, his strength proved to be a bit much.
“I threw it up as high as I could. I wanted to drop it straight in, but it wound up hitting the glass,” Harris said. “You definitely get that sense that it’s our night, but at the same time you’re playing a team that can score 10 points real quick. You still have to stay focused.”
The Knicks officially clinched a playoff berth on Thursday and welcomed back Amar’e Stoudemire on Friday after he missed nearly a month with a back injury. They appeared lethargic, discombobulated and perhaps even disinterested.
Stoudemire quickly fell into foul trouble in the first quarter and finished with 15 points. Carmelo Anthony scored 12 points, but shot just 5-of-13.
Harris, in fact, had as many defensive rebounds as the Knicks’ starting frontcourt (Anthony, Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler) combined.
“We really came ready to play and I thought they were not into it, for whatever reason,” Scott said. “We took full advantage of it.”
Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 21 points and looked a bit sharper than he did in his return Wednesday from a sprained right shoulder. He made just 1-of-7 3-pointers, but was aggressive at getting to the basket and finishing around the rim.
“We were communicating and really looked like a solid team,” Irving said.
“I wish we would’ve been consistent throughout the season. We’ve beaten good teams throughout the season and we’ve shown we can play with the good teams.”
In the long term, the victory actually damages the Cavs more than the Knicks, considering the log jam of teams — the Cavs among them — atop the NBA lottery standings.
No one in the locker room cared about that, however, as they celebrated just their fourth victory in their past 19 games.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.