Irving, Cavs hand Knicks another loss

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- It was just another game for Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving.
Irving erupted for a game-high 37 points and 11 assists in the Cavaliers' 109-94 victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday before 14,580 at the Quicken Loans Arena.
The All-Star had 22 points in the second half for his third double-double of the season. In the game, he converted 14-of-23 shots from the field and 4-of-7 from behind the arc.
He shot 5 of 6 from the foul line, compared to the Knicks' 4 of 5.
"It was just another game," Irving said. "I haven't shot it as well as I have wanted to. I've been working hard in practice. It felt good. I was making plays within the offense."
Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said he never worried about Irving's shooting, which had dipped below 40 percent before Tuesday's game.
"He can shoot 0-for-30," he said. "I don't care. I know he's a great shooter and can score points in bunches."
With the vicgtory, the Cavaliers (8-13) are winners of four of their last five games to climb back into the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Knicks narrowed an 18-point deficit down to one point, 53-52, early in the third quarter. That is when Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson responded with a dazzling, one-handed, follow slam with 8:26 left in the third.
From that point, they closed the quarter on a staggering 26-13 run and built a commanding 81-65 lead after three quarters.
"Whenever there are big-time plays, it gets us going and the crowd gets into it," Thompson said. "I did take it out on the rim. Sorry."
Up until that point, he was having a foul-prone, so-so game. He finished with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
"We have to keep our foot on the pedal," Thompson said.
Forward Carmelo Anthony paced the Knicks (5-15) with 29 points and eight assists.
The Knicks are now losers of 11 of their last 13 games.
"We're playing cool basketball right now," Knicks guard J.R. Smith said. "It's not working for us. We have to get our hands dirty and do what it takes to win it."
Knicks coach Mike Woodson said his team had trouble defending Irving.
"He's tough," he said. "One-on-one, he's tough. He causes havoc on anybody and tonight he was making shots all over the place."
Smith also praised Irving, who made 9 of 14 shots in the second half.
"It's just like kicking a man when he's down," he said. "That's what it felt like."
Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire scored 15 points and had five rebounds in a reserve role. Smith added 14 points and center Andrea Bargnani had 11 points.
Cavaliers guard Jarrett Jack came off the bench to score 17 points, while center Anderson Varejao added nine points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Cavaliers shot a season-high 56.8 percent from the field.
They also pushed the Knicks around on the boards, 38-31.
The Cavaliers committed eight turnovers in the second quarter, which led to 17 points by the Knicks. That allowed New York to climb back in the game at halftime, 48-45.
In the second half, the Cavaliers turned the ball over just five times, which resulted in five points. Brown said he thought that was the difference in the game.
Brown's message to the starters at the start of the second half was to take care of the basketball.
"The starting group did a nice job taking care of the basketball in the third quarter," he said.
NOTES: The Knicks were missing two key frontcourt players: C Tyson Chandler (non-displaced fracture of the right fibula) and F Kenyon Martin (sore left ankle). F Metta World Peace made his first start for New York. ... Chandler is back practicing in non-contact drills. The earliest he could return is 10 days to two weeks. ... Cavaliers coach Mike Brown dabbled with using the three-guard lineup at times this year with Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Jarrett Jack, even though he is not a fan of using undersized players. "I'm surprised how much I've used it and, at times, how affective it's been," Brown said. ... Brown said he is going with a set rotation -- finally. "I'm looking from some consistency," he said. "I'm sure they are looking for some consistency from me."

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