June 25, 2016

Mostly sunny

Team trumps stars: Cavs find plenty of heroes to counter Melo, Amar’e, beat Knicks

CLEVELAND – The New York Knicks had two superstars. For one night, anyway, the Cavaliers had the better team.

Getting key contributions from a lot of people, Cleveland downed Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and the rest of the Knicks 115-109 Friday night in front of a boisterous sellout crowd at Quicken Loans Arena.

In beating New York for the second time in as many games this season – the Cavs are 8-47 vs. everyone else – Cleveland got 28 points and 13 rebounds from Antawn Jamison, 24 points, 15 boards and a career-high five blocks from J.J. Hickson, 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists from Ramon Sessions and 16 points, five rebounds and four assists from Anthony Parker.

“I really didn’t feel like losing,” said Hickson, who bounced back from a poor effort Wednesday against Houston that got him benched for the final 16 minutes of a close game.

The 22-year-old was all over the floor in his 39 minutes of action against the Knicks (29-27), blocking Stoudemire’s jump hook, diving to save a loose ball and getting two key offensive rebounds and a putback in the closing moments.

“I’m keyed up every night,” Hickson said, “but the big names kind of get my attention.”

Those big names were Stoudemire, who had 31 points, 11 rebounds and five emphatic blocks, and Anthony, who had 27 points and eight boards in his second game with the Knicks.

The two often operated independently of one another, however, as Anthony, who complained of a sore elbow afterward, had 16 points in the first period, then went 4-for-14 from the field the rest of the way. Stoudemire was 0-for-5 in a scoreless first period, then went 14-for-22 the rest of the night.

Equally up and down for the Knicks was newly acquired point guard Chauncey Billups.

He was scoreless in a foul-plagued first half, then tossed in 26 points in the second, when he nearly rallied New York to victory.

“They have a couple good one-on-one players,” Hickson said. “Yes, I did feel like they were taking turns.”

With the Cavs up four, the teams continually traded baskets until Cleveland’s Daniel Gibson, 2-for-9 from the field to that point, hit a 3-pointer to put the Cavs up 110-105 with 30.6 seconds left.

Anthony drove, scored and was fouled by Hickson with 25.8 ticks on the clock, but missed the free throw and fouled out in the battle for the rebound.

Sessions split a pair at the line to put the Cavs up 111-107 with 24.3 seconds left, with New York’s Shawne Williams having a 3-pointer rim out following a timeout.

Two free throws by Sessions with 15.5 seconds left essentially sealed the deal, giving the Cavs their third victory in their last five games.

“Three out of the last five is good,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. “We have got a couple more here at home … so let’s see if we can start a little streak.”

While the Knicks made a lot of highlight plays, the Cavs won because of their dirty work, effort and willingness to do the little things.

One game after getting outrebounded by 20 by Houston, Cleveland won the board battle 62-42 against a very soft Knicks team, with Christian Eyenga contributing a career-high eight to the mix. Alonzo Gee, pressed into action after the Thursday trade of Jamario Moon, added 11 points and six rebounds.

“We had a meeting with the bigs,” Hickson said. “We said, ‘That (Houston effort) just can’t happen.’”

The Cavs also went to the line 44 times, making 31. On at least three occasions in the fourth period, they missed the second of two attempts but grabbed the offensive rebound. On two of those occasions, they had missed both free throws.

All told, Cleveland grabbed 19 offensive rebounds, leading to a 26-13 edge in second-chance points. The Cavs also outscored the Knicks 31-22 at the line.

Outside of Anthony, Stoudemire and Billups, the Knicks got next to nothing from everyone else, as only starting shooting guard Landry Fields (11) scored more than eight points.

Eight was the total put up by Bill Walker, but the other four players who saw action for New York – starting center Ronny Turiaf and reserves Toney Douglas, Renaldo Blackman and Williams – combined for six points on 3-for-18 shooting.

“Our guys are really starting to understand that we have to do it every day on the defensive end,” Scott said. “Like we always say, we have to complete the play. We are doing a really good job defensively, but there are times when we just don’t get the defensive rebound. Tonight was one of those times when we did a much better job on the defensive boards.”

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.

Cavs 115, Knicks 109

NEW YORK (109): Anthony 9-22 7-9 27, Stoudemire 14-27 3-5 31, Turiaf 1-4 0-1 2, Billups 6-14 12-14 26, Fields 4-7 0-0 11, Douglas 1-8 0-0 2, Sha.Williams 1-6 0-0 2, Walker 3-5 0-0 8, Balkman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 39-93 22-29 109.

CLEVELAND (115): Eyenga 2-8 0-0 4, Jamison 10-25 7-9 28, Hickson 9-17 6-10 24, Sessions 6-12 9-14 22, Parker 5-6 6-6 16, Gibson 3-10 0-1 8, Gee 3-4 3-4 11, Samuels 1-8 0-0 2, Harris 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 39-92 31-44 115.

New York         30          23            22            34            –           109
Cleveland         28          25            30            32            –           115

3-Point Goals-New York 9-22 (Fields 3-3, Anthony 2-3, Walker 2-3, Billups 2-5, Stoudemire 0-1, Sha.Williams 0-3, Douglas 0-4), Cleveland 6-21 (Gee 2-3, Gibson 2-7, Sessions 1-2, Jamison 1-8, Eyenga 0-1). Fouled Out-Anthony. Rebounds-New York 50 (Stoudemire 11), Cleveland 77 (Hickson 15). Assists-New York 22 (Billups 8), Cleveland 18 (Parker, Gibson, Sessions 4). Total Fouls-New York 29, Cleveland 23. Technicals-New York delay of game, New York defensive three second 2, Cleveland Coach Scott. A-20,562 (20,562).


• WHO: Cleveland vs. Philadelphia
• WHEN: Sunday, 5 p.m.
• WHERE: The Q
• TV/RADIO: FS Ohio, Ch. 43; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM