Recap: Knicks 102, Cavs 97

The Knicks defeated the Cavs 102-98 after trailing by 22 points and having Carmelo Anthony leave with a knee injury. Amare Stoudemire had 22 points on 10-15 shooting to lead the Knicks and Maurice Speights had 23 points on 10-14 shooting.

First Quarter:

The Knicks had an extremely lackluster effort in the first quarter and trailed the Cavs 34-24 after 1. Iman Shumpert was the lone bright spot, as he finally got his jumper going. He hit two three-pointers and had eight points on 3-5 shooting. Amare Stoudemire played deplorable defense on Maurice Speights, who scored 15 points on 7-7 shooting. Carmelo Anthony was held to four points on 0-4 from the field. The Cavs did a nice job of doubling him in the post and Anthony has not hitting his outside shot. The Knicks had five turnovers in a 3:25 span that allowed the Cavs to go on their run. The Knicks had a chance to get their momentum back at the end of the quarter after a Steve Novak’s four-point play but Kyrie Irving came right back and hit a three-pointer.

Second Quarter:

The Knicks cut a 22 point deficit down to 13 and trailed the Cavs 62-49 at halftime. The Cavs build a 52-30 lead by shooting an incredible 81%. Obviously, a lot of that was because of the Knicks lack of defensive effort, but the Cavs also made some contested jumpers that were bound to stop falling. When the Cavs went on a inevitable cold streak the Knicks took advantage. The talk Mike Woodson had with JR Smith clearly had an effect on him, as Smith did a much better job of taking the ball to the hoop and not settling for three-pointers. Stoudemire had eight point in the quarter and took over the featured role because of the injury to Anthony. Melo tripped at half court over nothing and walked straight to the locker room. He was ruled out for the game afterwards. Shumpert barely played in the quarter after his strong first.

Third Quarter:

The Knicks had a solid third quarter, outscoring the Cavs 21-12 to cut the deficit to 73-70. The Knicks did this on the defensive end of the floor. The Cavs were 0-9 from the field until they hit their first field goal with 5:22 remaining in the quarter. The Knicks went on a 10-0 run to begin the quarter to cut the lead to 62-59. Stoudemire had six of them and once he went to the bench the Knicks had problems scoring. Smith reverted back to his ways from the Miami game and took a few bad shots. Pablo Prigioni entered the game late in the quarter and struggled because he passed up some good looks. The Knicks could not get over the hump and grab the lead, as they had six possessions in which they could have taken the lead and failed to do so.

Fourth Quarter:

The Knicks played a tough fourth quarter to pickup a huge 102-98 come from behind win over the Cavs. The Knicks got their first lead of the game on a three-pointer from Steve Novak with 6:54 remaining to go up 84-81. It was Novak’s second three of the quarter and he was a huge factor in the comeback. With 1:38 remaining and the Knicks up 94-92, Jason Kidd hit a huge three-pointer to put the Knicks up 97-92. A Tristan Thompson dunk and two Wayne Ellington free throws made it a one point game before Stoudemire came up big. Stoudemire had his shot blocked by Thompson before getting the loose ball and going up again and hitting the reverse layup to put the Knicks up 99-96. After a quick and easy Irving layup made it 99-98, Tyson Chandler came up huge. Chandler corralled the offensive rebound of a missed Stoudemire jumper and Kidd ended up getting fouled. Kidd only made one free throw to put the Knicks up 100-98. Then, off a switch of course, Chandler picked up Irving and stuffed his three-point attempt to give the Knicks the win.

Notes:

- Fantastic comeback win obviously. Huge to get it without Melo with a very tough stretch of games coming up. Could not afford a loss to the lowly Cavs.

- All the minutes Mike Woodson has been playing Melo has seemed to finally gotten to him. Just no need to run him into the ground, especially when you have Stoudemire to take over the scoring load. Save him for the playoffs please.

- Please don’t turn this into an Amare vs. Melo thing. Amare’s scoring was firmly because of the added minutes. He would have done this with Melo if he had been playing these minutes. Melo had done a good job of keeping him involved.

- It was just so much fun to see Amare turn back the clock like that. He really deserved that for what he has gone through.

- Amare should see the majority of minutes in crunch time. The Knicks will never reach their full potential without him doing that. Although against the Heat I could understand beacuse when the Heat went to the small lineup there was nobody for Amare to guard.

-Novak’s and Kidd’s shooting was huge today. Those two players knocking down three-pointers may be the key to the whole season.

- Why Iman Shumpert was on the bench after his hot start I don’t understand. Woodson’s usage of him overall has just been awful.

- Tyson Chandler’s block on Irving to seal the deal was incredible. Not many seven-footers have a prayer of making that play.