Irving, James lead Cavaliers past Knicks, 119-104
CLEVELAND (AP) Carmelo Anthony was still a member of the New York Knicks when he awoke from his afternoon nap Thursday.
Once the game started, the Cleveland Cavaliers made sure the Knicks’ nightmarish season continued.
LeBron James recorded his 48th career triple-double and Kyrie Irving scored 23 points, leading the Cavaliers to a 119-104 victory over the Knicks, who hung on to Anthony and Derrick Rose at the trade deadline.
James scored 18 points and had 13 rebounds with 15 assists for his sixth triple-double of the season.
Anthony, the subject of trade rumors because of a strained relationship with Knicks President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson, scored 20 points, going 9 of 25 from the field.
”I’m at peace,” Anthony said. ”I’ve been at peace. I’m happy I won’t be talking about trades or any of this stuff the rest of the season.”
Anthony anticipated he would remain with the Knicks.
”Nobody likes to be in limbo, especially when it’s involving you, but that’s not the way it is in this sport,” he said. ”Obviously, we all knew kind of what was going on out there, but nothing happened.”
Kyle Korver scored 20 points for Cleveland, which is 8-1 in February and has beaten New York 10 straight times. The defending NBA champions were 7-8 in January.
”We got back to playing our type of basketball,” James said. ”I’ve always felt good about our team, but it was just about the way we were playing. I feel really good about the way we’re playing right now.”
Courtney Lee had 25 points for New York, which has lost six of seven and is 12th in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis, the team’s second-leading scorer, left the game with a sprained right ankle in the second quarter and didn’t return. He left the arena in a walking boot and will be re-examined Friday.
New York took an early lead in the first game since the All-Star break for both teams, but the Cavaliers closed the first half on a 25-8 run. Cleveland built the lead to 72-51, but Anthony scored eight points in the third quarter and kept New York in the game.
The Knicks trailed 87-79 entering the fourth, but the Cavaliers quickly regained control. James scored on two layups while Korver and Channing Frye each hit two 3-pointers, pushing the lead to 110-91.
”The rest paid dividends for us,” James said. ”A couple of possessions guys got a little tired because we hadn’t played in a week, but it was a good start for us after the break.”
James, who had eight assists in the fourth, also turned in two outstanding defensive plays. He swatted Rose’s layup attempt into the courtside seats in the second quarter and pinned Lee’s breakaway drive against the backboard in the fourth.
Rose, another subject of trade rumors as the deadline approached, scored 13 points.
Knicks: C Joakim Noah (sore left hamstring) traveled with the team to Cleveland, but coach Jeff Hornacek said no timetable has been set for his return to action. … Lee has been battling an illness, but has stayed in the lineup despite not being fully healthy.
Cavaliers: James’ missed layup earlier in the quarter fooled the arena PA announcer, who began calling the four-time MVP’s name as the ball spun out. …. Irving missed a free throw in the second quarter, snapping a streak of 29 made foul shots in a row.
Former Knicks forward Charles Oakley watched his former team in his hometown. Oakley sat next to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert in a front row seat adjacent to Cleveland’s bench.
Oakley attended his first Knicks game since being arrested after getting into an altercation with security guards at Madison Square Garden earlier this month.
”It’s always great to see him,” James said. ”He’s like an uncle of mine.”
The Cavaliers were quiet at the deadline, but general manager David Griffin is expected to add at least one player soon. Veteran point guard Deron Williams is available after being waived by Dallas on Thursday.
Knicks: Host Philadelphia on Saturday night.
Cavaliers: Host Chicago on Saturday night.