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LeBron misses Melo at MSG

NEW YORK –- LeBron James missed his good friend Carmelo Anthony on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

With Anthony not in the building as he recovers from last week's season-ending knee surgery, James and the Cleveland Cavaliers cruised to a 101-83 win over the New York Knicks.

“I know what he's going through,” James said when asked if he could relate to Anthony being the man on a struggling team compared to James’ early years in the league. “I hate the fact that he’s going through [this] right now, especially having the surgery, [and] has to sit out the rest of the season.

“I think that’s the No. 1 thing, him getting healthy, and hopefully they put some guys around him that can help him win.”

James, who earlier this season came to New York to watch Anthony play at the Garden when the Cavs had a night off before facing the Brooklyn Nets, said he has spoken with Anthony and that the Knicks’ franchise player is “doing good” after surgery.

James finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and a couple of crowd-pleasing breakaway dunks off steals. After the win, he reiterated his love for playing at Madison Square Garden, much like he said during All-Star Weekend.

“It’s always special being in this building for sure,” James said. “It’s the mecca of basketball, so it’s always special to be on the court.

“I mean it’s the history, not just the basketball games that have been here, but the performances, everything that’s included,” he added. “So many greats have come through this building. It’s always been a pleasure and an honor.”

Having said that he would love to play all his regular-season games at the Garden, James was asked if he entertained the idea of playing for the Knicks as a free agent last summer.

“No,” James replied.