James, Cava­liers dom­i­nate Knicks in opener

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Steve Her­rick

LeBron James took time to re­flect as the Cleve­land Cava­liers raised their cham­pi­onship ban­ner.

Then it was busi­ness as usual.

James had his 43rd ca­reer triple-dou­ble, Kyrie Irv­ing scored 29 points and the Cava­liers beat the New York Knicks 117-88 on Tues­day night in the NBA sea­son opener.

James scored 19 points and added 11 re­bounds and 14 as­sists in front of a rau­cous home crowd that was on its feet from the pregame cer­e­mony un­til late in the game, cel­e­brat­ing the city’s first cham­pi­onship in 52 years.

“It was great to have a mo­ment like that,” he said. “It was dif­fi­cult to fo­cus on the game but we did a great job, es­pe­cially in the sec­ond half.”

James, who got choked up while speak­ing to the crowd be­fore the game, con­tin­ued his per­fect record on ring nights. He was 2-0 when the Mi­ami Heat play­ers were pre­sented with their cham­pi­onship rings.

“There were so many emo­tions,” he said. “To see us win the fi­nals and tonight be­ing that last ex­cla­ma­tion point to re­ceive your ring in front of your fans was a great mo­ment.”

Irv­ing scored 19 points in the third quar­ter, when Cleve­land used a 20-4 run to take a 74-53 lead. Kevin Love scored 23 for the Cava­liers.

Carmelo Anthony led New York with 19 points and Der­rick Rose had 17.

Cava­liers guard Iman Shumpert was taken to the locker room late in the third quar­ter with con­cus­sion­like symp­toms af­ter col­lid­ing with Kristaps Porzingis. Cleve­land coach Ty­ronn Lue said Shumpert was un­der­go­ing tests to de­ter­mine the ex­tent of the in­jury.

Cleve­land’s play­ers, coach­ing staff and front office per­son­nel also re­ceived their cham­pi­onship rings in the pregame cer­e­mony, and the sell­out crowd chanted Lue’s last name.

“That was a re­ally good feeling,” he said. “It was great to be a part of it.”

The bas­ket­ball game was only part of a big night in town. The Cleve­land In­di­ans played Game 1 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs across the street at Pro­gres­sive Field.

The Knicks, who missed the play­offs the last three sea­sons, are ex­pect­ing ma­jor im­prove­ment af­ter ac­quir­ing Rose from Chicago to run the of­fense and sign­ing cen­ter Joakim Noah, who was score­less in 21 min­utes.

“We will im­prove, I guar­an­tee it,” Anthony said. “There are just so many mov­ing parts right now. We need to get bet­ter, but we’re not run­ning from that fact.”

New York, play­ing its first game un­der new coach Jeff Hor­nacek, trailed by 13 in the sec­ond quar­ter but ral­lied to cut the lead to 45-43 at half­time. A pair of dunks by James and 3-point­ers from Irv­ing and Love pushed the lead to 61-49.

Cleve­land’s spurt con­tin­ued as Irv­ing hit three 3-point­ers for a 74-53 lead.

Porzingis scored 16 points for New York.

TIP-INS

Knicks: Anthony scored 11 of New York’s 18 firstquar­ter points . .... PG Bran­don Jen­nings, signed in the off­sea­son, scored seven points in 22 min­utes.

Cava­liers: F Tris­tan Thomp­son was score­less and had six re­bounds in 21 min­utes . ... Rookie G Kay Felder is go­ing through con­cus­sion pro­to­col af­ter be­ing in­jured in prac­tice last week.

HIGH STAKES

James and Dwyane Wade, a Chicago na­tive, fi­nal­ized their bet on the World Series be­tween the In­di­ans and Cubs.

“If the In­di­ans win the World Series, he has to wear an In­di­ans uni­form when he comes here and if the Cubs win it, I have wear a Cubs uni­form when we play in the United Cen­ter,” James said.

James said he and most of the Cava­liers planned to at­tend Game 2 on Wed­nes­day night.

NOT THIS TIME

The Knicks spoiled James’ re­turn to Cleve­land on open­ing night two years ago with a 95-90 win. Anthony was the game’s high scorer with 25 points. Irv­ing led Cleve­land with 22 while James scored 17.

MAK­ING FRIENDS, SORT OF

Noah, who has never been a fa­vorite of Quicken Loans Arena fans, had a few kind words for the city Tues­day.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions to Cleve­land,” he said. “Even though it’s not a va­ca­tion spot you guys got a cham­pi­onship. It’s well-de­served.”

UP NEXT

Knicks: They host Mem­phis on Satur­day in their home opener in what will mark Rose’s first game in a New York uni­form at Madi­son Square Gar­den.

Cava­liers: They travel to Toronto on Fri­day in a re­match of last sea­son’s Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals, which Cleve­land won in six games.

PHIL LONG — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, left, beats Cava­liers’ Kevin Love to ball dur­ing New York’s sea­son-open­ing loss.

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