The Knicks forward poured in 29 points and became the 50th player
in NBA history to accumulate 19,000 career points, leading New York
to a 117-86 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square
Anthony accomplished the feat in the first quarter with his 15th
point, and he sat out the end of the rout. He averaged 28.7 points
in January as the Knicks posted their best month of the season,
New York (19-27) earned its second consecutive one-sided and
wire-to-wire win. The Knicks, who defeated the Boston Celtics 114-88
Tuesday, are 4-3 on their eight-game homestand, with the Miami Heat
set to visit the Garden on Saturday.
The Cavaliers (16-30) lost for the third game in a row and for the
seventh time in 10. They were led by guard Kyrie Irving, who scored
24 points. Guard Dion Waiters scored 21 points off the Cleveland
bench. He is the highest-scoring reserve in the Eastern Conference
at 14.5 points a game.
With center Andrea Bargnani and forwards Kenyon Martin and Amar'e
Stoudemire out due to injuries, Knicks coach Mike Woodson employed a
three-guard starting lineup. Point guards Raymond Felton and Pablo
Prigioni joined J.R. Smith in the backcourt.
The "small ball" formula worked, as Felton and Prigioni acted as the
distributors and Smith provided the scoring. Felton and Prigioni
combined for 13 assists, and Smith poured in 19 points. Rookie Tim
Hardaway Jr. was the first guard off the Knicks' bench, and he
contributed a season-best 29 points.
Smith made the most of his 10th start in an inconsistent season. The
28-year-old shooting guard shot at least 50 percent from the floor
for the third time in four games, going 8-for-16 Thursday.
"I am getting more shots up," Smith said. "You can never shoot
Woodson liked the offensive and defensive mix his three-guard lineup
"J.R. gives you offense, and Kyrie (Irving) is tough to deal with
for anybody," Woodson said. "I thought Pablo got up and forced the
pressure early, and he maintained throughout the whole game.
"It is hard to guard that kid (Irving) one-on-one. We got back on
transition and we built up the wall which supported Pablo."
[to top of second column]
Cleveland never put together a sustainable run. The Cavaliers
trailed 81-65 heading into the fourth quarter, then were outscored
by 15 in the last period.
The Knicks took their biggest lead of the first half, 58-29, when
Anthony sank the second of two free throws with 4:23 remaining.
Hardaway came off the bench to score six points to help the Knicks
take a 60-36 halftime advantage.
"They hit us in the mouth and things became easy for them in the
second and third quarters," Irving said. "We have to play with more
fire, especially starting off the game."
Anthony poured in 18 first-quarter points and Smith added 11 to help
the Knicks to a 38-21 lead. That was the most points New York has
scored in the first quarter this season. Anthony was 5-for-10 from
the floor and 6-for-7 from the line in the quarter.
NOTES: Knicks G Tim Hardaway tied the single-game team record for
3-pointers by a rookie with six. He shares the mark with Nate
Robinson and Toney Douglas. ... The Knicks recalled C Cole Aldrich,
G Toure' Murry and F Jeremy Tyler from Erie of the Development
League after they practiced with them on Wednesday, an off-day for
the Knicks. ... The Cavaliers' bench began the night ranked second
in the Eastern Conference and sixth in the NBA in scoring, averaging
36.6 points a game. The unit scored 36 points against the Knicks.
... Cleveland F Anderson Varejao missed his second straight game due
to a hyperextended left knee. ... Hardaway was selected to play in
the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend. ... Both teams
wore warm-up tops with a horse displayed on the front in celebration
of Chinese New Year — the year of the horse. ... Thursday's matchup
featured two players who graduated from New Jersey high school
powerhouse St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, Knicks G J.R. Smith and
Cavaliers F Tristan Thompson. ... Denver Broncos defensive back
Champ Bailey was at the game.
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