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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Game 33: Cavs at Knicks

Madison Square Garden
Radio/TV: WTAM/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: The Knicks scored 71 points in the second half, often times scoring at will, as they erased a 17-point deficit.

A night after the Cavs outscored Boston, 42-22, in points in the paint, they were blitzed on Wednesday. The Knicks outscored them, 68-46, in the paint. That's a staggering number.

The Cavs looked like they were in total command at halftime, 61-49.

The Knicks' point guard position was in shambles just a couple weeks ago. Now, they have two very good ones in Jeremy Lin and former Cav Baron Davis. They combined for 21 assists on Wednesday, which matched the Cavs' total as a team.

They are a completely different team with Lin in the lineup.

They are 9-3 with Lin in the starting lineup. He has nine 20-point efforts in his last 13 games. Lin made his first start of the season on Feb. 6 vs. Utah. It's going to be difficult for Coach Mike D'Antonio to remove him from the starting lineup.

Remember, it was supposed to be Davis who was the Knicks' savior. That didn't exactly work out. Now, he plays behind the 6-3, 200-pound Lin.

He came into Wednesday's game averaging 14.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists. He had 19 points and a game-high 13 assists against the Cavs. Davis, waived by the Cavs in December, added four points and eight assists.

Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving said after the loss to Boston on Tuesday that he's looking forward to facing Lin. Irving was real good in the first half, and finished the game with 22 points and seven assists. He turned the ball over four times in 34 minutes.

I've received several questions about Lin being a Rookie of the Year candidate. This is his second year in the NBA. He played 29 games for Golden State last season, where he was waived. Houston had him in training camp, but cut him again.

The Knicks claimed him on waivers on Dec. 27 and their front office should be commended. D'Antoni might have saved his job by making the move to Lin in the starting lineup. Even after he was added to the roster, he was sent to the D-League Erie (Pa.) BayHawks for a week. He was recalled on Jan. 23.

This is the second of four meetings with the Knicks this season. The Cavs won at Quicken Loans Arena on Jan. 25, 91-81. Forward Antawn Jamison paced the Cavs with 23 points on Wednesday. He added a team-high 10 rebounds.

It was reserve forward Steve Novak who torched the Cavs. He buried 5 of 8 3-pointers for 17 points.

After making his last 11 3-point attempts heading into the game (8 of 8 in the Rising Stars Challenge, 3 of 3 against the Celtics), Irving managed just 2 of 7 from behind the arc on Wednesday.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Chicago at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Quicken Loans Arena. 

SF Omri Casspi (6-9, 225) vs. Carmelo Anthony (6-8, 230)
PF Antawn Jamison (6-9, 235) vs. Amar'e Stoudemire (6-11, 260)
C Semih Erden (7-0, 240) vs. Tyson Chandler (7-1, 240)
SG Anthony Parker (6-6, 210) vs. Landry Fields (6-7, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Jeremy Lin (6-3, 200) 
Cavs – G/F Christian Eyenga, C Anderson Varejao 
Knicks - C Jerome Jordan, F Bill Walker 

Ed Malloy, Mark Ayotte, James Williams


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