Knicks overcome Irving's 41, hold off Cavs 103-102
- Article by: BRIAN MAHONEY
- Associated Press
- December 15, 2012 - 9:19 PM
NEW YORK - Raymond Felton scored 25 points, Tyson Chandler had 23, and the New York Knicks overcame Kyrie Irving's career-high 41 points and the absence of Carmelo Anthony to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-102 on Saturday night.
The Knicks won their fourth straight when Anderson Varejao missed the second of two free throws with 1 second left. They improved the NBA's only unbeaten home record to 10-0, their best start since the 1991-92 team won its first 11 at Madison Square Garden.
Anthony, the NBA's No. 2 scorer, missed the game after spraining his left ankle Thursday in the third quarter of a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. But Chandler scored 21 in the second half and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Felton and Jason Kidd combined for 15 assists.
It almost wasn't enough thanks to Irving, who had no problems wearing a black protective mask after breaking a bone in his face on a hard fall Friday night against Milwaukee.
Rookie Chris Copeland scored 11 points in his first career start in place of Anthony, who scored 30 points in 22 minutes Thursday before getting hurt when he landed awkwardly after a hard foul by Dwight Howard. The Knicks improved to 2-1 without him, adding this to a surprising rout in Miami on Dec. 6.
Leading by 10 midway through the fourth quarter, the Knicks had their lead cut to 102-101 when Irving made two free throws with 10.1 seconds left. After Steve Novak made one free throw, Irving pushed the ball up and seemingly the whole Knicks team converged on him, leaving Varejao uncovered toward the left sideline. Irving threw him the ball and Varejao dribbled into the lane, where he was fouled with a second left. After making the first, he may have been distracted when the officials took the ball back from him so the Knicks could make a late substitution, and the second shot fell out.
Irving scored 17 points in the final period, the second-year pro surpassing his previous best of 34 points despite saying he arrived less than three hours before the tip and with only about four hours of sleep after getting fitted for the mask.
CJ Miles finished with 17 points for the Cavs, who had three masked men in uniform as they dropped their third straight. Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller were already wearing them for previous facial injuries.
J.R Smith scored 13 points and Novak had 13 for the Knicks, who continue their six-game homestand Monday against Houston in Jeremy Lin's return to Madison Square Garden.
Copeland made all three shots in the first quarter, but Thompson was 4 for 4 as the Cavs took a 28-27 lead. The Knicks opened a seven-point lead in the second but the Cavs came back to tie it before Novak's 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining sent New York to halftime with a 48-45 advantage.
The Knicks scored the first seven of the second half, opening a 55-45 lead on Felton's 3-pointer a little more than 2 minutes into the third quarter. Cleveland didn't let them get any further away, getting the deficit down to two late in the period before trailing 78-73 going to the fourth.
NOTES: The Knicks were also without reserve forward Rasheed Wallace because of a sore left foot. ... Longtime Knicks TV and radio announcer John Andariese was honored with the fifth annual Dick McGuire Knickerbocker Legacy award, given by the family of the Hall of Fame player and team employee to a person who "exudes the qualities of what it means to be a Knickerbocker." Andariese retired before the season after more than 35 years of broadcasting the Knicks.
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