J.R. Smith won't be available to face former Knicks team
As LeBron James returns home off yet another historic achievement, the Cleveland Cavaliers are dealing with one more injury.
J.R. Smith won't be available to face his former New York Knicks team Wednesday night after bruising his right knee in the same game James became the youngest player in NBA history to record 25,000 career points.
Cleveland (3-1) overcame Smith's first-quarter injury and an early 15-point deficit to post a third consecutive win Monday, beating Philadelphia 107-100 as James reached the milestone on an alley-oop dunk with 8:07 left.
It was part of a near triple-double from the four-time MVP, who broke Kobe Bryant's record by hitting the 25,000-point mark at 30 years, 307 days.
"The NBA is full of records, but that's an extremely impressive record-breaking moment for LeBron," coach David Blatt said. "To be the youngest player in the history of the game to score 25,000 points, particularly when you're every bit the passer that you are the scorer, is just a testament to his greatness. That was one of those great moments that you remember."
James finished with 22 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds to help rally Cleveland.
"It's a cool thing," he said. "I've got more work to do but it's pretty cool to see where you're able to kind of stop and look at it."
Seldom-used veteran James Jones contributed 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range to help offset the loss of Smith, traded to Cleveland from New York along with also-injured guard Iman Shumpert on Jan. 7. The 2013 Sixth Man of the Year will miss Wednesday's game and Friday's home rematch with the 76ers at a minimum.
The Cavaliers are already without defensive stopper Shumpert, who underwent wrist surgery in late September, and point guard Kyrie Irving, still recovering from a fractured kneecap suffered in Game 1 of last season's NBA Finals.
Smith scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting in his Madison Square Garden return during Cleveland's 101-83 victory over New York on Feb. 22.
James didn't fare as well against the Knicks last season, with his scoring average of 18.0 in three matchups being his worst against any team he faced more than once. He shot 38.8 percent from the field and had 16 turnovers in the season series as Cleveland went 2-1.
The Knicks (2-2) won their only trip to Quicken Loans Arena last season and are 2-0 on the road during an encouraging start to 2015-16.
New York appears to have survived an injury scare to a key player in its last outing, with rookie Kristaps Porzingis expected to play through a neck strain suffered in Monday's 94-84 loss to San Antonio.
The 20-year-old forward, one of several newcomers in the Knicks' rebuild from a franchise-worst 17-win 2014-15 campaign, posted his first career double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds before colliding with Carmelo Anthony with 2:49 remaining. Porzingis did pass concussion tests and was diagnosed with a soft tissue injury.
Anthony paced New York with 19 points but was 4 of 17 from the field and the Knicks shot a season-low 36.0 percent. They shot 47.7 percent in Saturday's 117-110 win at Washington in which Anthony scored 37 on an 11-of-18 success rate.