Wrap-Up — The Cavaliers may not be the three-point shooting squad they were a year ago, but when Kyle Korver starts heating up from long-range like he did in the fourth quarter at The Garden, it doesn’t really matter.
For the second straight game, Korver shot the Cavaliers out of a second-half funk – this time helping Cleveland overcome a 23-point second-half deficit to improve to 2-1 on the trip, stunning the Knicks, 104-101, on Monday night in New York.
After notching 13 points in the final quarter of Saturday’s win over Dallas, the four-time three-point percentage champ caught fire again in the World’s Most Famous Arena – going 5-of-8 from beyond the arc for 19 points in the period as the Cavalier avenged an early season loss to the feisty Knicks.
After LeBron James’ postgame comments on Saturday night – stating that the Knicks should have selected Dennis Smith Jr. – tempers began to flare early. And when the player the Knicks actually chose with the No. 8 pick – Frank Ntilikina – and LeBron bumped chests late in the first quarter, with Enes Kanter jumping into the fray, things began to really heat up.
But it was the Knicks who used that dust-up to gain momentum – outscoring a flat Cavs team, 29-13, in the second quarter. New York didn’t let up from there and, near the end of the third quarter – after Tyronn Lue replaced his entire starting five – had bumped their advantage to 23 points – 73-50.
That was as good as it’d get for Jeff Hornacek’s squad. The Cavaliers cut into the Knicks’ edge late in the fourth and outscored them 43-25 in the final period to steal the huge win and improve to .500 with one game remaining on the four-game trip.
LeBron James barely missed his third career triple-double at Madison Square Garden – cheated out a rebound at the buzzer, but still finishing with 23 points on 7-for-14 shooting, adding a game-high 12 assists, nine boards and three blocks.
Korver followed up with 21 points, going 5-of-12 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the stripe on the night — adding five boards and a steal.
Dwyane Wade got better as the night went along – tallying 11 of his 15 points after intermission, going 5-for-7 from the floor in the second stanza, 7-for-15 overall, adding eight boards, three assists and a pair of steals.
Jae Crowder rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures, finishing with 13 points on 5-for-12 shooting.
As he did in the first meeting of the season, Tim Hardaway Jr. led both teams with 28 points, adding 10 boards, five assists and a pair of steals. Kristaps Porzingis, who’d topped the 30-point plateau eight times already this season, was held pretty much in check on Monday night – adding 20 points but going just 7-for-21 from the field. Kanter doubled-up with 20 points and a game-high 16 boards.
Four Cavs score in double figures led by Bron and the bench.
The Cavaliers shot just 40 percent from the floor in the win but canned 16 triples and were 18-of-22 from the stripe. The difference was Cleveland’s fourth-quarter shooting – going 14-for-26 from the floor, including 9-of-17 from deep, in the final 12 minutes.
Turning Point — The Cavaliers used a big fourth quarter push to take Monday night’s victory, but the foundation for that comeback came at the end of the third quarter.
Everything was going New York’s way in the period and when Tim Hardaway Jr. canned a pair of free throws, the Knicks had their biggest lead of the night with 2:12 to play in the quarter.
But Cedi Osman’s three-pointer seemed to get the Wine & Gold going. Dwyane Wade followed up with an and-one to cut New York’s lead to 19 – 75-56. Kyle Korver’s two free throws to end the third got Cleveland to within 16 to close the period.
And in the fourth, Korver finished what he started.
By the Numbers – .667, .692, .857 … Kyle Korver’s three-point percentage (8-for-12), shooting percentage (9-for-13) and free throw percentage (6-of-7) in the fourth quarters of the last two games – netting 32 combined points in just under 24 minutes of work.
Quotable – Kyle Korver, on his fourth quarter heater …
”I needed one to go down first; I think I missed the next two after that. I actually felt great. I’ve played this game for a long time and I’ve had many bad shooting nights. I kept shooting and kept at it.”
Up Next — After taking two of the first three on their four-game junket, the Wine & Gold close out the trip on Wednesday night in Charlotte, taking on Kemba Walker and the Hornets for the first time this season. The Cavs return home for a Friday night meeting with the Clippers before getting back on the road for their first-ever appearance at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, taking on the Central Division-leading Pistons on Monday, November 20th. Cleveland returns home to bookend Thanksgiving with a pair of contests at The Q – welcoming the Nets to town on November 22nd and the Hornets on the 24th.
Calls of the Game