By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
KNICKS 107, CAVALIERS 97 | QUICKEN LOANS ARENA
How it Happened:
A trend is developing for the Knicks, and tonight in Cleveland, it brought their playoff hopes a little bit closer to reality. Trailing the Cavs by one game in the Eastern Conference standings entering tonight, New York once again started out strong and hung on for a spirited victory, its third straight.
Even as Carmelo Anthony started the game shooting 0-for-6 from the floor, the Knicks shared the ball and locked in on defense, holding Cleveland to 36.8 percent shooting in the 1st quarter. Battling a cold for the second straight game, Melo turned it on in the 2nd, scoring 12 of his 26 points to keep the offense hot.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert provided energy off the bench and the Knicks got monster performances from their starting big men -- Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire combined for 32 points, 23 rebounds and dominated the paint.
By playing unselfish basketball, the Orange and Blue was able to build itself a lead big enough to sustain Cleveland's 3rd quarter run. The Knicks had 26 assists as a team, 19 in the first half, and kept up the intensity to pull away down the stretch.
Knick of the Night:
Stoudemire gets the nod for his effort on both ends. Aside from his scoring (17 points), his job protecting the rim (three blocks) and crashing the boards (credited with six offensive rebounds) were instrumental to winning the possession battle. He also dished out four assists, matching his most in two years.
The Knicks return home to go for four in a row as the Philadelphia 76ers visit Madison Square Garden on Monday.