Kyrie Irving scores 37 points to lead Cavaliers past struggling Knicks
His arms folded across his chest, New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson watched helplessly as three Cleveland players streaked past him on the way to an uncontested layup.
Woodson couldn’t stop the Cavaliers.
Right now, he can’t do much about his sinking Knicks either.
Kyrie Irving had 37 points and 11 assists and Jarrett Jack added 17 points, leading the Cavs to a 109-94 victory over the hard-to-figure Knicks on Tuesday night.
Fresh off an embarrassing 41-point loss at home to Boston on Sunday, New York dropped to 5-15 and made Woodson’s future even more uncertain. The Knicks have lost 11 of 13.
"I don’t have the answer to what we have to do," Carmelo Anthony said. "You can’t coach or you can’t teach energy. The losing is becoming unacceptable. Hopefully, everybody feels like that. I can’t be the only one who is feeling like that."
Irving scored 12 points in the third quarter, when the Cavs outscored the defenseless Knicks 33-20 and pulled away. Tristan Thompson added 12 points — two on a ferocious put-back dunk — and had nine rebounds as Cleveland won its fourth straight at home.
Anthony scored 29 points and Amare Stoudemire had 15 for the Knicks, who erased an early 18-point deficit, gave it all back, fell behind by 19 and weren’t aggressive.
New York attempted just five three throws.
"This is all new to me," Stoudemire said. "I’ve never been 5-15 before in my career. The only thing we can do is stay positive."
Anthony said there are bigger things to worry about than any looming changes.
"If we start thinking about that, we’re going to be 5-25," he said. "It will all go downhill."
After being outscored 22-4 during one stretch of the second quarter, the Knicks got it together — briefly. New York only trailed by three at halftime and the Knicks were showing some signs of life, one game after enduring the most lopsided loss in the NBA this season.
Anthony’s 3-pointer pulled New York within 53-52, but Thompson scored on a sensational, one-handed dunk, triggering an 8-0 run that made it 61-52.
"I did take it out on the rim," said Thompson, who was frustrated by early foul trouble. "Sorry, rim."
Irving hit a 3-pointer, and moments later, Cleveland’s Alonzo Gee tipped the ball away from New York guard Pablo Prigioni near midcourt. Gee picked up the loose ball and led a three-on-none Cavs break past Woodson, who stood on the sideline unable to prevent Cleveland from scoring another easy basket.
The Cavs pushed their lead to 88-69 in the fourth quarter before the Knicks made one last run, getting within 90-77 on a jumper by Andrea Bargnani. But Jack hit a 3-pointer, Irving made one from long range and Cleveland finished off its largest win this season.
With four wins in five games, the Cavs are beginning to shake out of their early season funk under coach Mike Brown.
"We knew it was going to take some time," said Brown, in his second stint with Cleveland. "We knew we were going to take our lumps."
Looking for a spark and some inside muscle at both ends to offset the loss of Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin, Woodson started Metta World Peace, who came off the bench in New York’s first 19 games.
"Metta has earned the right to be out there," Woodson said. "He’s patiently waited for his opportunity."
Woodson’s opportunity, on the other hand, could be ending.
On Monday, New York’s third-year coach said he’s "up to the task" of fixing the Knicks. He may not have much more time to get them repaired.
After the game, Woodson said he hopes to still be around when Chandler and Martin return.
"Hopefully, I’ll get a full deck and see where we are," he said.
When the final horn sounded, Knicks assistant coach Herb Williams helped Woodson get out of his courtside chair by pushing him from behind.
He may soon be pushed aside, but Anthony feels Woodson can still fix the Knicks.
"We’ve got to help him figure it out," Anthony said. "He’s not going to do it by himself. We’ve got to help each other figure this out."
NOTES: Chandler, out since Nov. 5 with a broken right leg, began practicing earlier this week and is encouraged by his progress. Chandler doesn’t know exactly when he’ll be back in the lineup. "I’m close. I’m not that close," he said. "I know I’m not game ready. I want to be able to get back on the court and give my team something as well as protect myself. When you’re coming back from an injury, you just can’t jump out there and not be afraid." … Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon sat courtside and received a loud ovation when shown on the giant scoreboard during a timeout. … New York hosts Chicago on Wednesday. … Knicks G Raymond Felton aggravated a hamstring injury and played only 4 minutes after halftime. … Longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta celebrated his 74th birthday.