James, Korver lead Cavs, top Knicks

Cleve­land over­comes 23-point, third quar­ter deficit, win 104-101

The Garden Island - - Morning Briefing - Brian Mahoney

NEW YORK — LeBron James had 23 points and 12 as­sists, Kyle Korver scored 19 of his 21 points in the fourth quar­ter to spark a huge come­back, and the Cleve­land Cava­liers beat the New York Knicks 104101 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 as they built what be­came a 23-point lead late in the third quar­ter.

But the Cava­liers made nine 3-point­ers in the fourth af­ter hit­ting just seven through three quar­ters, charg­ing back for their eighth straight vic­tory at Madi­son Square Gar­den.

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.

New York led by 15 af­ter three but the Cavs sur­rounded James with plenty of perime­ter shoot­ing and the Knicks couldn’t con­tain them. Cleve­land tied it on Chan­ning Frye’s 3 with 2:15 to go be­fore James made it 100-97 with an­other 1:23 left.

The game was just two days af- ter 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.

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, with Har­d­away rac­ing in for a dunk af­ter his to cap the run as the Madi­son Square Gar­den crowd roared at the sight of vin­tage Knicks de­fense and tough­ness.

The Cavs cut it to six early in the third quar­ter, but Kan­ter fu­eled a 13-2 re­sponse that ex­tended the lead to 17 be­fore Ty­ronn Lue called time and yanked all five play­ers off the floor.

Joakim Noah was el­i­gi­ble to play af­ter the com­ple­tion of his 20-game suspension for vi­o­lat­ing the NBA’s anti-drug pol­icy last sea­son, but the Knicks kept him on the in­ac­tive list. Hor­nacek said Noah is in shape — he was al­lowed to prac­tice dur­ing his suspension — and a val­ued mem­ber of the team, but the Knicks’ cen­ter tan­dem of Kan­ter and Kyle O’Quinn has been play­ing well.


Cleve­land Cava­liers’ LeBron James dis­cusses with New York Knicks’ Enes Kan­ter and Court­ney Lee dur­ing the first half at Madi­son Square Gar­den in New York, Mon­day.

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