Knicks 96, Cavaliers 94

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NEW YORK (AP)—Another coach Brown is questioning his team’s effort.

Jamal Crawford scored a season-high 37 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 6.4 seconds left, and the New York Knicks withstood a huge fourth quarter from LeBron James to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-94 on Wednesday night.

Hours after Knicks coach Larry Brown repeated that some of his players have stopped trying, the Knicks snapped their nine-game losing streak and ended Cleveland’s winning streak at nine. They were doing it easily until James helped the Cavs erase all of a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit.

“I was disappointed in our effort,” Cavs coach Mike Brown said. “I thought that our guys felt that they could show up in this building and win the ballgame whenever they wanted to. We didn’t take care of the basketball, we didn’t really share the basketball. We weren’t aggressive attacking until late in the game and we didn’t do a good job defending.

“They beat us from top to bottom, including myself and my whole staff and all the way down to our equipment guy.”

James scored 21 of his 36 points in the final period, including a basket that tied it for the final time at 94 with 27 seconds left. But Crawford, who hit winning baskets against Toronto in February and Detroit last month, came down and hit a high-arching jumper to put New York back ahead.

The Cavs got the ball to James after a timeout, and he drove into the lane, but kicked a pass out to Larry Hughes in the corner, whose 3-point attempt was long.

“We want to end this on a good note,” Crawford said. “The season hasn’t really gone like we wanted it to but we have some good young players and some good veterans and a great coach, so I think in time we’ll be good.”

Before the game, Knicks coach Larry Brown said some of his players have stopped trying, and stopped listening to him. But he had only praise after the game for Crawford.

“He is the most improved I think player I’ve ever coached,” Brown said. “He does things for our team to please me to a fault.”

James scored 35 or more points for the eighth straight game, but Cleveland failed to win 10 straight for the first time since 1997.

“We’re a little bit disappointed with the way we started,” James said. “But you have games like that. We just regroup and get ready for New Jersey.”

Eddy Curry added 16 points and Jackie Butler had 12 for the Knicks, who played without starters Stephon Marbury and Jalen Rose, and swingman Quentin Richardson because of injuries.

The Cavaliers were without center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who sprained his left ankle Tuesday night in a victory over Philadelphia. The Cavaliers said he was day to day and hope he can return for Saturday’s game at New Jersey.

Shortly after Larry Brown’s pregame remarks, the Knicks came out and gave a good effort against the Cavs, who seemed flat one night after 124-91 home victory over Philadelphia that was their most lopsided of the season.

New York led by as many as 19 points and was still up 18 before a flurry by James. He hit a 3-pointer, followed his steal with another 3-pointer, then took a charge before making another 3 to bring Cleveland within 80-71 with 7:14 remaining.

“It was time to make a move or get blown out,” James said. “I wanted to put pressure on their defense. I was able to get open a couple of times and get some big shots.”

Crawford then made a jumper, and after a free throw by James he made another to put the Knicks up by 12. But the Cavs kept coming, getting seven straight points from Flip Murray to tie it at 91 with 1:16 to play.

Drew Gooden had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavs, and Murray scored 18 points.

The Knicks led 48-37 at halftime behind 16 points from Crawford.

He scored 10 more points in the third quarter, including a jumper with a second left that made it 74-57.

“We’ve got to find out who is going to bring it every night,” Larry Brown said. “It’s pretty simple from my perspective to see that. And that’s all any of these people who come to the games can ask. I don’t think we’ve been fair to them. I know that’s going to change.


Knicks C Jerome James was active after missing Tuesday’s loss at Washington with an upper respiratory infection, but did not play. … New York lost 10 in a row from Jan. 28 to Feb. 13. … Knicks G Steve Francis thought the Cavs got some help from the officials in the fourth quarter. “They got some very, very … favorable calls down the stretch that we couldn’t get at gunpoint on the other end.”

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
L. James L. James
12-24,  36 Pts
2 Rebs, 7 Assists
 New York
J. Crawford J. Crawford
13-24,  37 Pts
5 Rebs, 4 Assists

Team Stat Leaders