Keep dreaming, Knick fans. Even LeBron James couldn't have helped your team tonight.
Using a high-powered offensive attack in the first half, the Cleveland Cavaliers thoroughly dominated the New York Knicks to the tune of a 31-point blowout, 124-93. LeBron James led the way with 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. However, the King was not the only player puffing up the stats against the weaker Knicks squad.
- Antawn Jamison - 17 points and 12 rebounds
- J.J. Hickson - 17 points and 9 rebounds
- Anderson Varejao - 14 points and 10 rebounds
- Mo Williams - 7 points and 10 assists
But it was Delonte West that will be the talk of the town tonight. His 15-point performance was highlighted by a dunk that will easily be the play of the night in the NBA. With 4 and a half minutes left in the second quarter, West inbounded the ball to Varejao and rolled around the baseline. Varejao hit West with the pass from 6 feet out, and West skied high into the air, rattling the rim over top of a stunned Tracy McGrady. West let out a primal scream as he his feet hit the ground, and the Cavalier bench erupted in delight as players actually tripped over themselves celebrating into a dogpile.
Cleveland scored 74 points in that first half, tying a season-high. They tied the 74-point half they picked up the last time Cleveland faced the Knicks.
All 12 active members of the roster scored in the victory.
"After getting up big, our guys did a nice job of staying focused and coming out in the third quarter and trying to close or finish the game the right way. Give everybody in that locker room credit"
-Cavaliers Head Coach Mike Brown
Perhaps the most shocking statistic of the night came from inside the paint. Despite losing both of their 7-footers in the past two weeks, the Cavs dominated inside. New York simply refused to drive the ball inside, frequently settling for outside jumpers, while Cleveland kept pounding the ball inside and crashing the boards. The wine and gold ended the game with the rebounding edge 60-31, nearly doubling up on the flat-footed Knicks.
Hickson started at center tonight, the first time in his career, giving the Cavs a new look.
"It was great. It allows us to play a different type of defense. It allows us to switch to different types of pick-and-rolls. J.J.'s athleticism is great."
- LeBron James on starting Hickson at center
The Cavs also outrebounded New York on the offensive glass 14-2, mostly thanks to the hustling Varejao, who brought down 6 o-boards.
New York opened the game with the first basket, and their last lead, of the night. Cleveland went on a quick 9-0 run and just kept expanding the lead from that point on. They led by 12 points after one quarter, expanding it to 26 points by halftime, and pushing it to a 42-point blowout by the end of the third stanza.
The lead actually reached 49 points at one point.
New York left at least two starters in throughout the fourth quarter and trimmed the final deficit down to 31 points against the end of the Cavs' bench.
With the win, the Cavaliers knock their "magic number" down to 4. Four more Cleveland wins, or 4 more Miami Heat losses, or any combination of the two, will secure a playoff berth. Yes, we know that it was never in doubt whether or not we'd make the dance, but it'll be official at that point.
Also, we're aware that Miami is the 8th-seed now and Charlotte is on the outside looking in, but Miami's 31 losses are the key factor in determining the magic number. Charlotte only has 30 losses.