…. and it wasn’t even that close. The Cavs beat the Knicks in every way imaginable and they spent large chunks of this game ahead by 30 points. The final score is only this close because the bulk of the second half was garbage time.
It was that kind of night. Ben Wallace was hitting fade-aways, LeBron was knocking down flat footed treys and J.J. Hickson was one of seven Cavaliers to score in double figures (aka this was fun). The Cavs shot 53% from the floor, they out rebounded the Knicks 48-43 and everyone who played got some points. The Cavs also had 9 steals and 8 blocks to completely overwhelm the Knicks at the defensive end.
The bench was fantastic. The bench, with the help of Mo Williams, took the Cavs’ 34-22 1st quarter lead and pushed it 55-26 over the first fives minutes of the 2nd. Hickson had his best game as a pro, scoring 10 points and getting a block and a steal (to go with just 2 boards in 18 minutes). Wally Szczerbiak had 15 points and 4 rebounds and he knocked down 3-6 from beyond the arc (where he was constantly left open by the shoddy New York D). Anderson Varejao put up 11 (5-7 FG) and 6 in just 21 minutes. Daniel Gibson also threw in 10 points (but he was just 2-8 from 3) while also giving the Cavs 7 assists and 4 boards.
LeBron got a lot of attention. Hey, did you know he could be a free agent in 2010? That the Knicks are one of the teams rumored to be interested? LeBron had mostly a nondescript game, finishing with 26 points, 4 boards, an assist and a steal in 30 non-competetive minutes. He had a couple of highlight plays (a sick block and a breakaway dunk) but keeping LeBron off of Sportscenter seemed to be the only thing that the Knicks cared about, fouling LeBron whenever he got close to the basket (James finished 9-11 from the stripe).
The bigs were solid, yet again. In 22 minutes of strong play, Ben Wallace finished with 4 points, 5 boards and freaking 5 blocks. Z had the Cavaliers’ only double-double, netting 11 points and 10 rebounds to go with his 3 assists (have I mentioned that I LOVE that they’re utilizing Z’s passing?). Varejao and Hickson gave them solid minutes off the bench and even Darnell Jackson got to play, dropping in 4 points and 2 boards in six garbage time minutes.
3 point shooting was good, not great. The Cavs used the 3 ball early in the game to build their big lead (4 of their 10 treys came in the 1st period). However, they kept shooting ’em and finished just 10/33. Gibson was 2-8, James was 3-7, Delonte West (16 points, 7-14 FG) was 1-7 and Mo Williams (8 points, 4-11) was 0-4. I’m not everly concerned about the long distance shooting, because the bulk of this game was garbage time and the Cavs kept trying to pour it on.
The Knicks stink. Now, they did just make some trades, so guys were making their Knick debut… but this isn’t a real good team. There’s almost no inside game to speak of (David Lee is a more polished Varejao, nothing more), they have a team full of chuckers (hi Tim Thomas! *waves*) and they dont play a freaking lick of defense. The Cavs absolutely destroyed their will by midway through the 2nd quarter and never looked back (not a bad way to start a 4 games in 5 nights stretch). Enjoy the next couple of seasons, Knicks fans.
More turkeys! To follow up the beating of the Knicks, the Cavs get to face the Oklahoma Thunder on Wednesday night, in Cleveland. Nice. They then finish out the month of November with the Warriors and the Bucks (in Milwaukee). Sweeping this last 4-in-5 isn’t out of the question and they have a very real chance of going 14-3 in the first month (17 games in 30 days?). (Also, wasn’t it great to see them kick the Knicks collective ass in Madison Square Garden?)