Heading home for their second home game of the season, the Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the New York Knicks Wednesday night.
With the Knicks winning only 17 games last season and the Cavs getting within two wins of an NBA championship, the average fan would think this game would be a blowout in favor of the Cavs, but things didn’t go as expected. New York showed up ready to play and went up big early, but ran out of gas late in the game as the Cavaliers pulled away and won 96-86 to improve their record to 4-1.
LeBron James led the Cavs in scoring with 23 points, also adding 5 rebounds and 3 assists, but only on 9-23 shooting from the field. Mo Williams chipped in 22 points and 4 assists. Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson both notched double-doubles as they had 11 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 points and 13 rebounds, respectively. The Knicks were led by Carmelo Anthony who scored 17 points on 6-18 FG, and Kristaps Porzingis who had 13 points.
After a poor start for the Cavs, the Knicks led early as they took a 32-18 lead at the end of the first quarter. Shots weren’t falling for Cavs stars LeBron James and Kevin Love, so others had to step up. Mo Williams being one of those guys. Williams kept the Cavs somewhat in the game with a few consecutive buckets in the first half and had a good overall game. The Cavaliers shot a measly 40% from the field, and 26% from the three point line.
Kevin Love had his first sup-par game this season, and it showed, with the Cavs offense struggling early in the game. LeBron didn’t play any better , as the Cavaliers new sleeved jerseys seemed to affect his shooting. As a result, LeBron tore the sleeves on his jersey during the second quarter.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Cavs kept those jerseys on the shelves for the rest of the season, seeing as their best player doesn’t seem comfortable wearing them. LeBron first expressed his displeasure two years ago in Miami when he had to wear the sleeved jersey at times. Something to note: the Cavaliers did not wear sleeved jerseys at all last year, so it will be interesting to see if they do again this season, and if LeBron ends up getting fined for tearing the sleeves on his.
Wednesday night was the second game in a row that the Cavaliers went down big early. Both Philadelphia on Monday night, and then New York on Wednesday held 15 point leads in the first quarter against the Cavaliers.
Even though they won both games, I’m sure Coach David Blatt isn’t the least bit happy about their play early in games. These slow starts will obviously be addressed by Blatt, and I expect a hot start to the game on Friday when the Cavs host the Philadelphia 76ers at home.
The Cavs bench continues to make a positive impact in games this season, as they did once again Wednesday night. Matthew Dellavedova and Tristan Thompson had another good game, as Dellavedova scored 5 points, but more importantly had 7 assists and showed good control of the offense when he was in the game. Tristan Thompson put up a double-double in only 25 minutes, scoring 10 points and grabbing 13 boards.
The two connected on multiple lobs against the Knicks as they have on many occasions so far early this season. One very bright spot this season has been their chemistry leading the second group. Defenses will figure out how to stop the popular play sooner or later, but until then I say, keep it going as long as it’s working. Their lob combination electrifies the team, and the crowd every time.
After losing the home opener to the Chicago Bulls, the Cavaliers have put together 4 straight wins and look to continue their winning streak against Philadelphia at home on Friday night.
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