Cavs crush the Knicks

December 3, 2008 7:17:59 PM PST
The Cleveland Cavaliers have never been better at home. LeBron James scored 21 points and then grabbed an early seat on the bench as the Cavs improved to 10-0 on their own floor for the first time in franchise history with their 14th win in 15 games, 118-82 over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

Wearing replica wine-and-gold uniforms from their 1970 expansion season, when they played at dingy Cleveland Arena, the Cavaliers built a 42-point lead in the second half and breezed to their sixth straight win. They also remained the Eastern Conference's only unbeaten team at home.

Cleveland opened 9-0 at home in both the 1976-77 and 1991-92 seasons at Richfield Coliseum.

The 36-point margin of victory was Cleveland's largest in 171 games against New York.

With another blowout win, the Cavs, who have won their last nine games by at least 11 points, improved to 15-3 and continued the best start they've ever had. Right now, it doesn't matter where they play.

"They're really good everywhere," Knicks first-year coach Mike D'Antoni said before his team was rocked by Cleveland for the second time in a week.

Mo Williams added 16 points, Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and none of Cleveland's starters played more than 28 minutes.

Al Harrington scored 20 points, Anthony Roberson had 19 and David Lee 16 with 16 rebounds for the Knicks, who shot 39 percent and made 28 turnovers.

The Cavs were so efficient, James didn't even play in the fourth quarter. He was pulled with 2:33 left in the third quarter but still managed six assists, five rebounds, five steals and made 10 of 10 free throws before kicking back and cheering on Cleveland's backups, who manhandled New York, too.

The Knicks, eyeing James as a free agent in two years, must be wishing they could jump in a time machine and transport themselves to 2010. Along with injuries and the circus surrounding guard Stephon Marbury's dismissal from the team, New York played the second half without starting guard Quentin Richardson.

Late in the first half, Richardson was slapped with two quick technicals and ejected by referee Rodney Mott.

Somewhere, assuming he was watching, Marbury must have smiled at seeing Richardson get tossed.

After all, it was Richardson who had criticized Marbury after a recent game in Detroit, when with Marbury in street clothes, the Knicks were forced to play short-handed. "I don't look at him as a teammate because teammates don't do that," Richardson said.

The only moment of concern for the Cavs came in the third quarter when James was pulled down by Harrington on a breakaway.

Streaking through the lane, James was about take off for a dunk when Harrington grabbed wrapped him up and sent him sprawling awkwardly to the floor. Harrington was assessed a flagrant-1 foul and James, after watching a video replay on the scoreboard, made both free throws to give the Cavs a 67-35 lead.

Notes: Cleveland hosts Indiana on Friday. ... The Cavs' previous biggest win over New York was by 25 on Jan. 8, 2005. ... D'Antoni hopes G Nate Robinson (strained groin) will be able to play Friday in Atlanta. Robinson has missed the last four games. Knicks F Jared Jeffries, who has missed the entire season because of a broken left fibula, could also return to face the Hawks. ... Knicks G Cuttino Mobley, acquired from the Clippers on Nov. 21, will see another specialist for additional tests on the heart condition that has kept him sidelined since the trade, D'Antoni said.