Game 71: Cavs at Knicks
Madison Square Garden
They fell behind by 17 points to the Knicks. However, they came out in the second half and just dominated action. They outscored New York in the second half, 60-39.
That doesn't happen very often with the Cavs. They are the ones on the other end of that for the most part.
Veteran guard Jarrett Jack was sensational on Sunday. He had 23 of his season-high 31 points in the second half. He added five rebounds and 10 assists. He converted 13 of 19 from the field.
Where has this guy been all season? My gosh he was good.
His sidekick, Dion Waiters, added 22 points and five rebounds. The starting backcourt shot 22 of 36 from the field. Fantastic night.
The night started on a good note when starting small forward Luol Deng returned after missing the previous three games with a sprained left ankle. He ended with 13 points, four rebounds and two steals in almost 33 minutes.
It was nice having him back. He provided a calming effect on the rest of the club. It allowed Alonzo Gee to come off the bench, which he's best suited.
Deng was 3 of 4 from behind the arc, which was needed. The Cavs were 9 of 18 from the 3-point line. The Knicks were 12 of 27.
Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 32 points and eight rebounds. But he cooled off in the second half when he made just 2 of 10 from the field.
The Knicks snapped an eight-game winning streak. They had a chance of picking up a full game on the No. 8 Atlanta, which lost to Toronto.
The Cavs broke a four-game losing streak. If they would have had all their players, they would have made a serious run at the playoffs. It's too little, too late for them in the playoffs this year.
Lame duck Knicks coach Mike Woodson finally settled on his jumbo lineup of Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler as starters. It's difficult for other teams to deal with that much size, scoring ability and talent.
They don't have much coming off the bench, but it was the price they had to pay.
The Cavs also snapped a five-game losing streak in New York, which included a 117-86 thumping on Jan. 30 on national television. Tonight's game was nice revenge for that loss. The TNT crew that night depicted the Cavs as a disjointed team. Analyst Kenny Smith showed on the big screen the Cavs just letting the Knicks waltz in unmolested for dunks, layups, anything they wanted.
That wasn't the case on Sunday. They defended and just stopped the Knicks in their tracks.
I don't know what is going on with Cavs center Spencer Hawes, but he's been playing with little fire the last few games. Even in the Oklahoma City game when he had 20 points, many of them were late in garbage time.
He's not hitting the boards at all. Maybe he needs to be called into the principal's office like Waiters was. Hawes had seven points and five rebounds against the Knicks.
Once again, Anderson Varejao is the Cavs' best big - by far - when he's able to stay on the court.
All of the Cavs' injured players, except guard Carrick Felix, flew to New York after the Houston game. Here's their current injury list: swingman C.J. Miles (sprained left ankle), swingman Sergey Karasev (strained patellar tendinitis), forward Anthony Bennett (strained left patellar tendon), guard Kyrie Irving (strained left biceps tendon) and Felix (left patella stress fracture).
Irving celebrated his 22nd birthday by wearing the ugliest shirt (sorry Ky) I've ever seen. Hopefully, he'll be back soon.
UP NEXT: The Cavs host Toronto at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena.
C Spencer Hawes (7-1, 245) vs. Tyson Chandler (7-1, 240)
Knicks - F/C Andrea Bargnani, F Kenyon Martin