Cleveland, OH – Carmelo Anthony posted a double-double with 31 points and 14 rebounds as the New York Knicks bounced back from their first loss in nearly a month with a 101-91 decision over the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday at Quicken Loans Arena.
J.R. Smith matched Anthony with 31 points on 13-of-16 shooting from the floor for the Knicks, who had a 13-game win streak snapped Thursday in a 118-111 overtime setback at Chicago.
"We had energy," New York coach Mike Woodson said. "I was concerned about how our energy level would be. We came out with energy and sustained it throughout the game and everybody that played contributed, so it was a good win."
New York, which clinched the Atlantic Division title on Tuesday, now holds a three-game lead over Indiana for second place in the Eastern Conference after the Pacers fell to Brooklyn on Friday. With one more win, the Knicks can lock up the No. 2 seed.
Kyrie Irving also netted 31 points to go with six assists and five boards for the Cavs, who have lost three straight and have already been eliminated from playoff contention. Tristan Thompson tallied 15 points and 11 rebounds.
"I just tried to come out aggressive," Irving said. "My shot felt good in the beginning and I felt like I got some good looks out there. Some of them fell, some of them didn't."
New York held a slim 27-24 edge at the end of the first, but after four straight points from Wayne Ellington brought the Cavaliers within one early in the second, Smith answered with three consecutive jumpers to spark a 13-0 sprint that Steve Novak capped with a 3-pointer to make it 44-30 with 6:19 left in the stanza.
Thompson finally quelled the surge with a driving layup and the Cavs were able to trim the margin to single digits, 52-43, as the teams headed into the locker room.
Anthony helped the Knicks keep the home team at arm's length in the third, as the New York superstar poured in 12 of his team's first 14 points in the frame.
Anthony's tip-in with just over 4 1/2 minutes left in the third gave the Knicks a 66-55 lead before Jason Kidd followed with a triple to push the margin to 14.
Cleveland trailed 75-64 after three frames and never threatened in the fourth, as the Knicks kept the difference above double-digits throughout the final 12 minutes to secure the victory.
Cleveland fell to 14-26 at home, while the Knicks improved to 23-17 on the road ... Kidd finished with six points for the Knicks ... New York shot 50.6 percent (40-for-79) from the floor ... The Knicks and Pacers square off Sunday at Madison Square Garden.