Rapid Reaction: Knicks 120, Cavs 103
February, 29, 2012
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
WHAT IT MEANS: The Knicks believe they have one of the deepest teams in the league. For one night at least, they backed it up.
New York's second unit spurred the Knicks to a 120-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers to open the second half of the season.
Steve Novak and Baron Davis led the Knicks on an 18-5 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to put the game away. Novak finished with 17 points in 17 minutes, hitting five of eight 3-point attempts. Davis had five assists in the run.
The Knicks are 18-18 and have three days to practice before heading to Boston on Sunday.
THE GOOD: It was the "Steve Novak Show" in the second half.
Down by as many as 17 points in the first half, the Knicks took their first lead on a Novak 3-pointer with 2:52 to play in the third. The sharpshooter knocked down another 3 20 seconds into the fourth quarter to give the Knicks a five-point lead. Two minutes later, Novak knocked down another triple to put New York up 90-82. After missing his first two attempts, Novak knocked down five of his next six.
BARON'S BACK: Davis looked like the Davis of old for the first time this season.
He had a strong first half (2 points, 3 assists, 1 steal in 6 minutes). But the veteran really showed his value late in the third quarter. He subbed in for Jeremy Lin with 1:39 to go in the third and the score tied at 76-76. Roughly seven minutes later, the Knicks were up by 13.
Davis had five assists in that stretch, including a pretty alley-oop to J.R. Smith, which Smith flushed with a reverse dunk.
Lin had a great floor game, with 19 points, 13 assists and 5 rebounds in 33 minutes. Carmelo Anthony had 22 points on 9-for-16 shooting. Tyson Chandler had 13 points and 15 rebounds in 31 minutes.
THE BAD: Amare Stoudemire's struggles continued. A day after Stoudemire declared that he'd bounce back in the second half, he scored 14 points on 4-of-11 shooting and had five rebounds. He was in foul trouble in the first half.
BANGED AROUND: Lin got beat up in the first half. He suffered a bloody nose late in the first quarter after taking a shot from Omri Casspi. He also got knocked in the face by Tristan Thompson's calf. Lin was on the ground after a drive and Thompson knocked into him before inbounding the ball.
Lin also had a tough time staying in front of Kyrie Irving in the first half. The Cavs rookie had eight points and five assists in the first half. He finished with 22 and seven.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks take on the Celtics on Sunday in Boston, the start of a four-game, six-day trip that takes them to Dallas, San Antonio and Milwaukee. Not an easy stretch for Lin, who after facing Irving on Wednesday will get a look at Mavericks veteran Jason Kidd, Spurs guard Tony Parker and Bucks guard Brandon Jennings.
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.