Friday, April 20, 2012
Halftime: Cavs 45, Knicks 34
By Michael Singer
Here are a few observations at halftime:
Amare Stoudemire had an unspectacular return to the Knicks' starting lineup on Friday. In Stoudemire's first six minutes, he was 1-of-4 from the foul line, missed two field goals and picked up two quick fouls in the post, which relegated him to the bench for the rest of the quarter.
His second period didn't fare much better. Stoudemire scored four points while Cleveland's frontcourt duo of Samardo Samules and Tristan Thompson combined for 12 points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes. Stoudemire was often caught out of position due to slow rotation.
From a broader perspective, however, his back injury, which sidelined him for 13 games, didn't appear to hamper his mobility in 12 first-half minutes. Coach Mike Woodson said he would be careful with Stoudemire and limit him to around 20 minutes.
Carmelo Anthony maintained his role as the team's primary scorer and often found space to work in isolation. Anthony had a team-high 11 first half points, second only to Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, who had 13 points. Anthony was 5-of-12 from the field and was the focal point of the Knicks' offense, especially when Stoudemire was on the bench.
The scrappy Cavaliers (20-41) were relentless on the glass and outrebounded the Knicks 33-18. Cleveland also grabbed 10 offensive rebounds.
New York was outscored 22-14 in the paint and the Knicks were held to just 31 percent first half shooting (13-for-42).