After a 24-point season opening beatdown by the Chicago Bulls, Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks bounced back from the second worst season opening loss in franchise history by defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 95-90, spoiling LeBron James’ much anticipated homecoming.
Anthony finished the contest with 25 points (9-17 FG,) 6 assists and 2 rebounds. New York did an excellent job of moving the ball against Cleveland, as 30 of their 37 made field goals were assisted. The Knicks bench was also very productive, and outscored the Cavs bench 41-12.
James struggled mightily in his return to Cavaliers, scoring only 17 points (5-15 FG,) and committing 8 turnovers.
Kyrie Irving had a stellar showing, finishing with 22 points (8-15 FG,) 7 assists and 5 rebounds. Irving continued to show growth on the defensive end, something that fans began in the summer with USA Basketball.
Kevin Love started off the game strongly, but missed the potential game tying three pointer late in the 4th quarter. Love finished with 19 points (6-14 FG,) 14 rebounds and 4 assists in his Cavalier debut.
Cleveland’s defense (which has been an area of concern ever since the Big Three was assembled,) allowed the Knicks to shoot 53.6% from the field and 50% from behind the arc. The Cavaliers didn’t help themselves by playing sloppily, committing 19 turnovers as a team.
New York’s next game is a home contest against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, and Cleveland will play Chicago tomorrow in the Bulls home opener.