James leads Cava­liers to vic­tory over Knicks

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Brian Mahoney

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.”

He did, hit­ting two of the Cava­liers’ nine 3-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 3s 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.”

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.”

Tip-Ins

Cava­liers: Der­rick Rose, who played for the Knicks last sea­son, re­mained out with a sprained left an­kle. ... Cleve­land started 2 for 15 be­hind the arc.

ANDRES KUDACKI — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Cava­liers’ LeBron James, top, re­acts as Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis, bot­ton, falls af­ter a foul dur­ing Cleve­land vic­tory at Madi­son Square Gar­den.

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