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

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cavs at Knicks

Madison Square Garden
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: TNT, Fox Sports Ohio

1. Remember, it was the Knicks who ruined the Cavs' season opener on Oct. 30 when they posted a 95-90 win at The Q. Since then, they've lost 16 of 19 games, including six in a row. They've struggled offensively and are near the bottom in the league rankings in points scored.

2. The Cavaliers owed one to the Knicks. The game went right down to the wire, but the Cavs recorded their fifth win in a row. For the second consecutive game, the Cavaliers went to a zone defense to change things up on the court. And, for the second consecutive game, it worked. The Knicks seemed confused trying to attack the zone. Overall, the Cavs are defending and held New York to 42 percent shooting from the field.

3. Forward Carmelo Anthony came into the league with LeBron James in the 2003 draft. Anthony came into the game sixth in the NBA in scoring at 23.5 per game. As he showed in the season opener, if he gets on a roll, he can't be stopped. He's one of the NBA's elite scorers. He's also averaging 6.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists. He had a dreadful shooting night against the Cavs, as he connected on 4 of 19 shots, 1 of 5 from behind the arc, for nine points.

4. James is fourth in the league in scoring at 24.9 points per game. He's also sixth with 7.4 assists per game. He's the key to the whole ball of wax in Cleveland. When he comes out in aggressive mode, the Cavs are difficult to defend. He's been the key to the five-game winning streak, as he won Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season. He also struggled with his shooting on Thursday, as he made 7 of 17 shots from the field, 1 of 6 from the 3-point arc. James ended with 19 points, five rebounds, a season-high 12 assists and two steals.

5. It was point guard Kyrie Irving who was the star of the game. He had a season-high 37 points, 17 in the second quarter. He came into the game averaging 29 points a game in his career at the Garden. He loves playing in the bright lights. He could be starting next to LeBron James on the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

6. The Cavs turned it on when they needed to in the fourth quarter to pull out the victory. They are lucky they won. The Knicks thoroughly kicked their butts on the boards, 47-33, and seemed to win every 50/50 ball. They outhustled them for much of the game. I don't know about you, but I totally overrated the Cavs in rebounding. I thought they could have the best rebounding team in the league. They came into Thursday's game ranked 24th in total rebounds.

7. We'll see what this team is made of Friday in Toronto. It'll be the tail end of a back-to-back set, both on the road, this one against the best record in the Eastern Conference at 15-4. Yes, they are missing their leading scorer, DeMar DeRozan (groin), but they are still a formidable bunch. The Raptors totally smoked the Cavs at the Q about two weeks ago.

UP NEXT: at Toronto, Air Canada Centre, 7:30 p.m. Friday

SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Carmelo Anthony (6-8, 240)
PF Kevin Love (6-10, 243) vs. Quincy Acy (6-7, 240)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. Amar'e Stoudemire (6-11, 245)
SG Shawn Marion (6-7, 228) vs. Iman Shumpert (6-5, 220)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Jose Calderon (6-3, 200)
Cavs - G Matthew Dellavedova, C Alex Kirk
Knicks - F Cleanthony Early, F/C Andrea Bargnani
Ed Malloy, Kane Fitzgerald, Josh Tiven


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