Rapid Reaction: Knicks 101, Cavs 91


WHAT IT MEANS: Turns out, Sunday's Knicks-Pacers game might not be that important after all.


Because the New York Knicks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night and the Indiana Pacers lost to the Brooklyn Nets.

The Knick win and Pacer loss lowered the Knicks' magic number to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs to one.

One Pacers loss or one more Knicks win will sew up the 2-second seed for New York, which would give the team home-court advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

EVEN MORE MELO: Stop us if you've heard this before: Carmelo Anthony is on a hot streak.

Anthony poured in 31 points in 30 minutes against Cleveland. He made 12 of 24 shots and pulled down 14 rebounds. A night earlier, he had a season-high 19 rebounds. He has helped fill the void for the Knicks on the front line quite nicely.

Anthony's six-game streak of scoring at least 35 points is over, but if you asked him, he'd probably tell you he could care less.

SMITH SIZZLES: How about this for J.R. Smith? After missing three of his first four shots, he hit 12 in a row.

He finished with 31 points (13 in the fourth quarter) in a fantastic shooting display.

The sixth man made 13 of 16 shots. His driving layup and subsequent free throw put the Knicks up 20 midway through the fourth.

Thanks to Smith, the Knicks' bench outscored Cleveland's, 40-20.

SCORING RACE: Anthony entered play Friday leading Kevin Durant by just 0.39 points per game in the NBA scoring race. Durant plays against the Blazers later Friday.

KYRIE: Kyrie Irving torched the Knicks for a career-high 41 points in a 103-102 loss at New York on Dec. 15. He didn't fare as well Friday, scoring 31 on 11-for-27 shooting.

Chris Copeland, starting at center, had 12 for the Knicks, who shot 50 percent from the floor. Solomon Jones had one rebound and two turnovers in 12 minutes in his Knicks debut.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks take on the Pacers Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. A win will clinch the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference for New York.

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