As often is the case with LeBron James, it was only a matter of time and motivation.
He and the Cavs allowed the Knicks to get back within striking distance, to sniff the confidence from their four-game winning streak.
Lance Thomas cut New York’s deficit to 8 on a jumper with four minutes remaining in the first half. Then the King arrived. No posse necessary.
Three-pointer from James.
As Phil Jackson said, James is a Roll’s Royce and the Knicks don’t have one of those. Carmelo Anthony wasn’t even a Toyota on Wednesday. Or a Pinto.
James throws down a dunk as the Cavs rout the Knicks.
In three minutes of the James takeover, Cleveland’s lead was back up to 15 and the Knicks were fried by halftime. They never recovered, falling down by 34 points before losing in a laugher to the defending champs, 126-94. Fans who shelled out big money got to witness Maurice NDour and Ron Baker for 10 minutes of garbage time.
James finished with 25 points, but only six in the second half when the game no longer required his horsepower. Kyrie Irving took control with 11 of his game-high 28 points in the third quarter. Kevin Love added 21 points. The Cavs (15-5) scored an insulting 23 fastbreak points.
The idea that the Knicks (12-10) are ready to compete with the best died on the Garden floor, even with all the ready-made excuses.
Beyond Derrick Rose missing the game with a back injury, the circumstances were less than ideal for the Knicks, who flew in from Miami for the second game of a back-to-back. Cleveland, on the other hand, enjoyed an offday in Manhattan, waiting for the Knicks’ arrival before fielding questions about Jackson’s “posse” comment.
“I’m not answering any Phil Jackson questions,” James said.
Anthony, who has long struggled with back-to-backs, played 36 minutes on Tuesday and followed up with a disappearing act Wednesday – scoring just eight points on nine field-goal attempts in 24 minutes. The no-show occurred in the first game since Jackson – not exactly a man of great tact – was shown on CBS criticizing the All-Star for holding the ball too long and killing the flow of the offense.
Kyrie Irving scores a game-high 28 points.
So it was hardly the LeBron-Melo showdown that ESPN teased for their primetime broadcast. After owning a winning record against James for much of his career, Anthony has dropped six straight to his buddy and trails in head-to-head matchups, 16-12.
“It’s a challenge for both of us. We’re obviously two seasoned vets and we’ve been around the block more than once,” James said. “We just create so many different matchup problems for the defense that it’s always difficult going against each other, and we just try to keep each other off balance.
“We know each other’s game and we know what we bring to the table. And it’s always fun and challenging going up against my good friend.”
The Knicks had won nine of their previous 12 coming into Wednesday, riding Anthony’s hot hand, Kristaps Porzingis’ versatility and Rose’s resurgence.
But there was none of that against the Cavaliers. Porzingis was in foul trouble and ineffective, missing 10 of his 15 shots. Rose was injured and his replacement – Brandon Jennings – struggled to keep up with Irving.
Even Jackson left his perch before the final buzzer.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News