Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James knew that he needed to step up in the game against the New York Knicks because Kyrie Irving was out for the game. According to ESPN, James decided to dominate. Throughout his tenure with the Cavaliers, Kevin Love has struggled to find his role on the team. Against the Knicks, the former UCLA Bruins star decided to dominate, as well. That helped the Cavaliers pick up a victory at Madison Square Garden.
After winning an NBA Championship with the Miami Heat, LeBron James is fully aware that victories are more important than personal stats. That’s why he has shown more of an inclination to defer to teammates than when he was trying to prove that he was the best player in the National Basketball Association. James also knows when to take over and dominate when a talented teammate, such as Kyrie Irving, is not available for a game.
LeBron James, indeed, dominated against the New York Knicks. The Akron native scored 27 points on nearly 50 percent shooting. James also pulled down 11 rebounds and dished out ten assists, which gave him his third triple double of the season. For good measures, LeBron also had a steal and two blocks. The 6’8″, 260 pound forward also was a threat from the three point line and effortlessly made his way to the free throw line. James clearly was a factor in the Cleveland Cavaliers winning.
Kevin Love has struggled to play with Kyrie Irving, a point guard that loves to look for his own shots. Against the New York Knicks, Love led the way with 28 points, shooting better than 50 percent. The Los Angeles native also pulled down 12 rebounds. Like LeBron James, Kevin was also a threat from the three point line and found his way to the free throw line, as well. Games like this remind fans that the former Minnesota Timberwolves star is still one of the best players in the NBA.
The Cleveland Cavaliers also received help from the other three starters, as well. Matthew Dellavedova, JR Smith, and Timofey Mozgov combined for 28 points, 13 rebounds, four steals, and a block. Dellavedova and Smith also hit six shots from the three point line, opening things up for LeBron James and Kevin Love to dominate. That was much needed to make up for the absence of Kyrie Irving.
The New York Knicks had great production from their top two stars. Carmelo Anthony had 28 points, nine rebounds and two steals. Kristaps Porzingis continues to snap out of his funk by contributing 19 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal. If the Knicks can get that type of production from Anthony and Porzingis on a consistent basis next season, then New York can compete on a nightly basis.
Though it wasn’t enough to overcome the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New York Knicks received solid production from their supporting cast. Derrick Williams came off the bench and had 11 points and eight rebounds. Defensive stalwart Robin Lopez had eight points and six rebounds. Jose Calderon chipped in with seven assists. Sasha Vujacic was steady with nine points, five rebounds, and a steal. The Knicks would love to see this production on a more consistent basis, as well.
The final outcome wasn’t that big of a deal. Many expected the Cleveland Cavaliers, the top ranked team in the Eastern Conference, to pick up the victory. The New York Knicks lost, but they received solid contributions throughout. The most interesting result from the evening was the fact that Kevin Love was able to dominate without Kyrie Irving around. That should add fuel to the fire that the Cavaliers are better off without their starting point guard.
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