KNICKS 120 CAVALIERS 103 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
In their first game since the All-Star break, the Knicks were rusty and trailed by 12 points at halftime. By the end of the end of the third quarter, New York mounted a major comeback to lead by two points. During the final period, the hometown squad exploded for 38 points to complete a 71-point second half and 120-103 destruction of the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
The Knicks jumped out of the locker room with a completely different defensive mindset and limited Cleveland to just 19 third quarter points. The suffocating defense directly led to eight Cavaliers turnovers in the period and 18 in the game while Steve Novak ignited New York’s offense.
Novak buried 3-of-4 long bombs in the third and scored nine of his 17 points to lead the second unit. His three-pointer at the 2:37 mark placed the Knicks on top and sent the Madison Square Garden crowd into frenzy. Prior to Novak’s shooting attack, New York rallied with a 10-2 run over the first three minutes of the third quarter.
Carmelo Anthony finished with 22 points and Jeremy Lin posted a double-double with 19 points and 13 assists as the Knicks improved to 18-18 on the season. Lin enjoyed a nice bounce back performance after Miami held him to just 1-of-11 shooting. The sudden star only committed one turnover and also grabbed five boards in the victory.
“It was definitely feeling good tonight. In the first half we came out kind of flat. In the second half we all went out warmed up, we knew that we had to get it in, and we knew that if defensively we got it going our offense would happen and that’s what happened.” -- Steve Novak
The Knicks recorded their highest second half point total (71) and highest total points (120) of the season on Wednesday night.
Novak was simply spectacular in the third quarter. His performance was not a one game fluke as the small forward has found a niche for this Knicks squad. Novak finished 6-of-9 from the floor and 5-for-8 beyond the arc. One could make the case that Novak is becoming one of the deadliest long range shooters in the league and this New York team will rely on his ability to drain three-pointers throughout the rest of the season.
New York will head back to MSG Training Center for practice tomorrow afternoon. The team does not play another home game until March 11 and will begin a long stretch of four road games in five nights starting on Sunday in Boston.