The Cleveland Cavaliers couldn’t have asked for an easier game than playing against the New York Knicks, winning 101-83 in a relaxed effort for LeBron James and co. against the worst team in the NBA.
The game was basically over after 12 minutes. The Cavaliers raced to a 36-17 lead and that was pretty much it. LeBron James scored 18 points with 7 rebounds and 7 assists in 28 minutes, while Kyrie Irving added 18 of his own in 27. J.R. Smith continues to look great and especially efficient, scoring 17 points on 7-of-11 from the field against his former team, while Iman Shumpert, never as flashy, added four points and one excellent assist off the bench. James passed Allen Iverson and moved to number 22 on the all-time scoring list.
Kevin Love had a very good 16 and 16 game, becoming the third fastest player among active ones to reach 5000 career rebounds, needing 418 to do it, trailing the 410 by Tim Duncan and 399 that Dwight Howard needed to reach that mark. Love enjoyed a primitive and failing defense to shoot 7-of-14 from the field which is quite high for him this season, trying to lift his shooting numbers up from the disappointing 43% it’s at right now.
While it seems everyone is quite confident Kendrick Perkins will play for the Cavaliers very soon, there’s no official word from anyone. David Blatt says he has no idea about what’s happening, and for now it remains in the court of the Twitter-sphere and back and forth between James, the number one recruiter in the NBA, and Perkins, who has just been bought out by the Utah Jazz. Tristan Thopmson will get more minutes at power forward if Perkins does sign, while Brendan Haywood will be almost completely erased from the rotation.
It was weird seeing Phil Jackson hit Twitter after the game and pretty much blame his players for having no heart as they lost by 18 points at home to the Cavaliers. As if any other result was actually possible. The Knicks have been stripped bear of any useful player. They even got rid of guys no one else wanted, not with the kind of money they were paying them. As we’ve mentioned more than once – expecting anything resembling success from a team that has Lou Amundson, Jason Smith and Lance Thomas as its frontcourt trio is delusional. Jackson put this team together. He should know.
The Knicks keep clinging to the bottom of the NBA. Was that the plan all along? Probably, although no one ever wants things to look this pathetic. Fans are willing to swallow losing seasons if they see a plan; if they’re told in advance to be patient and wait for a sign of life. But tanking is never a good idea, and despite the very little success with seen from this team over the last 15 years, fans in New York are never too patient or realistic about what their team can or can’t do. Things going bad is one thing, but this level of dysfunction came out of nowhere.
The Cavaliers, obviously, are going in a completely different direction, taking former Knicks players J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert along for the ride. That incredible alley oop between the two was just another motion of seasoning the Knicks’ wounds with salt. The Cavaliers have won 16 of their last 18 games, moving into the top 4 in the East and pushing upwards and forward fast. The Knicks, a team that actually beat them when the season began, are of no concern. They’re aren’t a concern to anyone, but because of where this franchise is located, their misery is impossible to ignore.