Cava­liers rally to sub­due Knicks

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - —STORY BY AP

NEWYORK— The Cleve­land Cava­liers banked on Kyle Korver and LeBron James to rally past the New York Knicks, 104-101, in the NBA at Madi­son Square Gar­den on Mon­day night. James had 23 points, 12 as­sists and nine re­bounds, while Korver scored 19 of his 21 points in the fourth quar­ter as the Cava­liers clawed their way back from a 23-point hole to ex­act re­venge over the Knicks, which ear­lier beat them.

NEW YORK— LeBron James got shoved by the Knicks and then benched by his coach. Nei­ther could keep him down for good.

James had 23 points, 12 as­sists and nine re­bounds, Kyle Korver scored 19 of his 21 points in the fourth quar­ter to spark a huge come­back, and the Cleve­land Cava­liers beat New York 104-101 on Mon­day night.

James also had a tech­ni­cal foul af­ter a first-quar­ter al­ter­ca­tion with Frank Nti­lik­ina and Enes Kan­ter, which seemed to charge up the Knicks. But he didn’t lose his poise then or mid­way through the third quar­ter, when Ty­ronn Lue yanked the five starters with the Knicks on their way to a 23-point lead.

“I knew we had an­other half,” James said. “Didn’t know that I was go­ing to get snatched like that early in the third, but I felt if I got back in I could still make some plays to help our team win.”

Three-point binge

He did, hit­ting two of the Cava­liers’ nine three-point­ers in the fourth af­ter they made just seven through three quar­ters and help­ing the Cavs charge back for their eighth straight vic­tory at Madi­son Square Gar­den.

Cleve­land outscored New York 43-25 in the fourth, mak­ing more threes than the Knicks had bas­kets (8). But the turn­around started late in the third with the sec­ond unit in.

“Now we just kept talk­ing about chip­ping away, chip­ping away,” Dwyane Wade said. “And then as you saw Kyle Korver got go­ing and then when you saw LeBron check back in, you knew, OK. You saw the waves com­ing.”

Tim Har­d­away Jr. had 28 points and 10 re­bounds, and Kan­ter added 20 points and 16 boards. But Kristaps Porzingis shot only 7 for 21 while scor­ing 20 points as the Knicks blew their chance to beat the Cavs for the sec­ond time this sea­son.

The game was just two days af­ter James, fol­low­ing a vic­tory in Dal­las, said Mav­er­icks rookie Den­nis Smith Jr. should be a Knick. The Knicks passed on Smith in the draft, tak­ing Nti­lik­ina one spot ear­lier at No. 8.

James said he meant it as a shot at for­mer pres­i­dent Phil Jack­son, and he was an­gry that he thought Kan­ter over­re­acted in his de­fense of Nti­lik­ina. So it wasn’t sur­pris­ing they were in­volved in an al­ter­ca­tion late in the first quar­ter.

James dunked and then wouldn’t move out of the way as Nti­lik­ina tried to take the ball back to the base­line to throw it in. Nti­lik­ina pushed James, who then ex­changed words with Kan­ter af­ter he ran in. James shoved Kan­ter, and both were given tech­ni­cal fouls.

“I don’t care ... what you call your­self. King, Queen, Princess, what­ever you are. You know what, we’re go­ing to fight and no­body out there [is] go­ing to punk us,” Kan­ter said. James’ re­sponse? “I’m the King, my wife is the Queen and my daugh­ter is the Princess,” he said. “So we got all three cov­ered.”

No sur­ren­der

The Knicks got hot af­ter that, hit­ting the Cavs with a 15-0 burst early in the sec­ond to open a 47-31 lead. Nti­lik­ina and Har­d­away both stole the ball from James dur­ing the run.

Cleve­land made a brief run early in the third be­fore New York ex­tended it back to 17, when Lue made his line change. Korver said even then he was still think­ing the Cavs could win.

“Ab­so­lutely,” he said. “That’s a lot of time and this is an amaz­ing place to make a come­back in.”

Mean­while, in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia, it was Stephen Curry’s turn to sit out a game with the same bruised thigh mus­cle that side­lined Kevin Du­rant last week.

War­riors depth

Both games, Golden State showed off its re­mark­able depth, with­stand­ing the ab­sence of a big star.

Du­rant had 21 points, a sea­son-high eight as­sists and seven re­bounds, Shaun Liv­ingston scored a sea­son-best 16 points in place of the in­jure Curry, and the cham­pion War­riors pulled away in the sec­ond half to beat the Or­lando Magic 110-100 for their sev­enth straight win.

Dray­mond Green had a sea­son-high 20 points, five as­sists, four re­bounds and two steals as the War­riors com­pleted an un­beaten four-game home­s­tand.

Klay Thomp­son cred­ited the front of­fice for keep­ing the tal­ented, loaded ros­ter in­tact.

“It’s what’s been able to pro­pel us to three straight Fi­nals,” Thomp­son said. “Our depth’s been in­cred­i­ble.”

Nikola Vuce­vic scored 20 points, Evan Fournier had 16 and Aaron Gor­don added 10 points and 10 re­bounds in the Magic’s fourth de­feat over six games.

Liv­ingston also had six as­sists on a night they were with­out Curry as he nursed a bruised right thigh from where he took a knee Satur­day night. Du­rant sat out with the same in­jury to his left leg last Wed­nes­day against Min­nesota.

Coach Steve Kerr called them sim­i­lar in­juries and is be­ing cau­tious with two-time MVP Curry, who sat out on his bob­ble­head give­away night and has only been re­ceiv­ing treat­ment on the leg with­out any on­court work.



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