by Sam Allard
The Knicks' star forward Carmelo Anthony exited the game early after he took a tumble and aggravated some soreness in his knee. But New York's second unit, paced by Amare Stoudemire with 22 points and the blazing three-point shooting of Steve Novak, wrested the game from a Cavs' rotation that could never quite salvage its hot hands.
Marreese Speights led all Cavs scorers with 23 points on 10-14 shooting. Kyrie added 23 and Luke Walton dished out 12 assists (a career high) on a night when both of the team's first round rookies, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller, were inactive. Here's the box score.
—Get Daniel Gibson off the floor, for goodness' sake. He only saw limited minutes because Waiters was out, but he looked ridiculous out there. I still remember fondly his glory days from beyond the arc, but he doesn't have the size (and no longer has the speed or consistency) to justify a spot in the rotation. Gosh, he just looks awful. Livingston and Ellington are both a significant cut above.
—Walton is a difference maker. Period. I've been a naysayer for some time, mostly because he's white and old and slow, but his +/- differentials tell an encouraging story. When he's out on the floor, we play more alert defense and more team-oriented offense. He always looks to pass, and finds cutters better than anyone on the team. He and Livingston have become anchors on the second unit and I'm really coming around to their contributions. Twelve gorgeous assists last night for Luke.
—Speights shot 10-10 in the first half. A lot of them were jumpers. The man was possessed.
—Something seemed to disintegrate once they'd built up (what they sure thought was) a comfortable cushion. They started jacking up threes and playing lazy offense. Distressing to behold.
Worth noting, also, that the Pepsi Max Kyrie bobblehead (free to the first 10,000 fans last night) looks much more like Kyrie Irving than his bobblehead in the team shop.