James scores 25 as Cavaliers crush Knicks 126-94
NEW YORK (AP) LeBron James had little to say about his choice of hotels and even less about Phil Jackson's choice of words.
James and his teammates made their statement loudly on the court.
James scored 25 points, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love also surpassed 20, and the Cleveland Cavaliers crushed the New York Knicks 126-94 on Wednesday night.
It was the first meeting since James was angered when Jackson referred to his friends and business partners as a ''posse'' last month in an ESPN interview. James refused to answer questions about the Knicks president, who watched the game from his usual seat a few rows back of center court.
''I'm motivated for the love of the game, I'm motivated by the process, I'm motivated knowing that my kids are watching me tonight on national television,'' James said. ''So I don't need much more.''
The Cavs, who didn't stay together in New York after James and some other players opted against staying in the team's Donald Trump-branded hotel, won their second straight after a three-game skid.
Irving led Cleveland with 28 points and Love scored 21, 16 in the first quarter, in Cleveland's eighth straight victory over New York.
''We're going to go through skids, we're not the perfect team,'' Irving said. ''But we also know what we have as a team when we collectively come together and it's a beautiful thing.''
Brandon Jennings scored 16 points for the Knicks, who had their four-game winning streak snapped and lost for the just the third time in 10 games. He started for Derrick Rose, who missed his first game of the season with lower back pain.
The Cavs made 22 3-pointers in 40 attempts.
''They played unbelievable and made all those shots,'' Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis said. ''It's really hard to stop a team like that.''
James and Love outscored Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony 46-20.
Tristan Thompson grabbed 20 rebounds for the Cavs. They played without guard J.R. Smith, who returned to Cleveland for additional testing after hyperextending his left knee Monday in Toronto.
Love and Irving made consecutive 3-pointers to kick off a 20-4 spurt that extended a one-point lead to 34-17 and the Knicks never really recovered. They trimmed it to nine late in the first half, but James had a ferocious dunk during the Cavs' run of six straight points, and another burst to open the second half pushed it to 71-48 on Irving's 3-pointer.
Cavaliers: It was a rough first quarter for former Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, who missed a layup and a breakaway dunk, when he appeared to hurt his hand after hitting it on the rim. ... Irving came in averaging 28.4 points in five games at MSG, his highest in any arena.
Knicks: Anthony was presented with his USA Basketball Olympic championship ring before the game. He shared USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year award earlier Wednesday with Kevin Durant after winning his record third gold medal in Rio. ... Former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, working the game for ESPN, got a big ovation when shown on the overhead video screen.
James said the decision not to stay at the Trump SoHo was a personal preference and not a political statement. He said it was the first time he hadn't stayed in the team hotel - some other players also changed hotels - though he did ride the team bus as usual to the morning workout.
Rose left the Knicks' victory over Miami on Tuesday in the third quarter and was still feeling pain when he arrived Wednesday to meet with team doctors, who sent him for an MRI exam to make sure there was nothing structurally wrong.
Cavaliers: Host Miami on Friday. The Cavaliers have won the last three meetings in Cleveland.
Knicks: Visit Sacramento on Friday to open a five-game trip in the West. The Knicks just beat the Kings here on Sunday, 106-98.
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|34.1||Min. Per Game||34.1|
|23.0||Pts. Per Game||23.0|
|2.5||Ast. Per Game||2.5|
|6.0||Reb. Per Game||6.0|
|50.2||Field Goal %||43.5|
|34.9||Three Point %||34.4|
|71.6||Free Throw %||86.7|
|Bad pass turnover on Ron Baker||0:13|
|Field Goals||39-80 (48.8%)||35-87 (40.2%)|
|3-Pointers||22-40 (55.0%)||11-31 (35.5%)|
|Free Throws||26-31 (83.9%)||13-15 (86.7%)|