CLEVELAND - Forward Carmelo Anthony and swingman J.R. Smith combined for 62 points in the New York Knicks' 101-91 victory over the hapless Cavaliers on Friday at Quicken Loans Arena.
Anthony, the league's leading scorer, had 31 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for the Knicks (52-27), who have won 14 of their last 15 games. He converted 12-of-24 from the field and didn't play in the fourth quarter.
Smith, a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, matched Anthony's point total and added five rebounds.
The Cavs (24-55) were paced by guard Kyrie Irving's 31 points, five rebounds and six assists. He made 11 of a career-high 27 attempts from the field. He was three of a career-high 10 shots from behind the arc.
The Knicks were playing without starting center Tyson Chandler, along with big men Marcus Camby, Kenyon Martin and Rasheed Wallace. So, what happens? They were very competitive on the boards and were outrebounded by a 46-44 margin.
Their tallest starters were Chris Copeland and Carmelo Anthony, who are both 6-8. So what happens to Cavs' 7-footer Tyler Zeller? He was scoreless on three shots from the field. It might have been a good night to feature him in the post.
The Cavs have lost three in a row.
Copeland, who started at center, had 12 points for the Knicks, while Iman Shumpert pulled down 11 rebounds.
Cavs power forward Tristan Thompson added 15 points and 11 rebounds for his 29th double-double of the season. Wayne Ellington added 13 points and five assists, while Alonzo Gee had 12 points and six rebounds.
The Knicks shot 50.6 percent from the field, compared to 43 percent for the Cavs.
The Knicks had a commanding 75-64 lead after three quarters.
They ripped off 13 unanswered points to take control of the game with a 44-30 lead with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half.
Smith had 11 points in the second quarter, as the Knicks extended their lead to 52-43 at halftime.
Anthony had 17 points and seven rebounds at halftime.
The Cavs shot just 23.8 percent from the field (5-of-21) in the second quarter. Irving has 16 points and four assists at halftime.
Anthony fired in 11 points, as the Knicks opened up a 27-24 lead after one quarter.
Irving scored 10 points in the first quarter. The Cavs shot 55.6 percent from field, compared to 50 percent for the Knicks.
Notes: Cavaliers coach Byron Scott calls Anthony an "offensive machine." Heading into Friday's action, Anthony has vaulted to the top of the NBA scoring race with a 28.7-point average. He's ahead of Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant by 0.4 points. Durant won the previous three scoring titles. Anthony has never led the league in scoring. "He just seems to be in attack mode," Scott said. "He's gearing up for the playoffs." Anthony is averaging 37.8 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in his last five games. ... Cavs shooting guard Dion Waiters was held out of Friday's game due to a family matter. He had just returned to the lineup on Wednesday after a 10-game absence with a sore left knee. ... Wayne Ellington, who has stepped in for Waiters in the starting lineup, has averaged just 8.8 points in his last five games and has reached double figures in scoring just once in that span. ... Cavs swingman C.J. Miles has missed the last three games with a concussion. He said he's not been cleared for practice on Saturday. He's worrying that he won't pass the NBA's protocol guidelines in time to play again this season. "Hopefully, I can get in a practice," Miles said. ... The Knicks waived veteran Kurt Thomas and signed 6-10 center Solomon Jones for the rest of the season on Friday. It was first reported by Yahoo! Sports. Jones was playing in China. "Solomon is a guy I had when I was coaching in Atlanta, and he fits what I like in a big man," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. ... The Knicks had just 10 players in uniform on Friday. Marcus Camby (left plantar fasciitis), Tyson Chandler (bulging disk), Kenyon Martin (left ankle sprain) and Amar'e Stoudemire (right knee surgery) didn't make the trip for the Knicks. Rasheed Wallace (fractured bone in left foot) made the trip, but was held out.