Amare Stoudemire scored 22 points, J.R. Smith added 18 and the New York Knicks overcame a 22-point deficit without All-Star Carmelo Anthony to beat the Cavaliers, 102-97, on Monday night, ending a 10-game losing streak in Cleveland.
Steve Novak made three of New York’s seven 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as the Knicks rallied and shook off a tough home loss on Sunday, when they blew a 16-point lead to Miami.
The Knicks trailed 52-30 in the second quarter of this one when Anthony injured his right knee. He stumbled and fell awkwardly after catching a pass and did not return.
Kyrie Irving scored 22 points in his return after missing Cleveland’s past three games with a hyperextended right knee.
After New York’s Jason Kidd split a pair of free throws with 6 seconds left, the Cavaliers had a chance to tie it.
Coach Byron Scott put the ball in the hands of Irving, who scored a career-high 41 against the Knicks on Dec. 15. The dazzling point guard couldn’t beat Tyson Chandler off the dribble and then had his 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds left blocked cleanly by New York’s 7-foot-1 center.
Smith was fouled and made two free throws in the final second to close out a win the Knicks needed badly.
Without Anthony, Woodson needed every second he could get out of Stoudemire, who powered inside for a critical putback with 39.5 seconds left to put the Knicks ahead 99-95.
Irving responded for the Cavs with a left-handed layup, but on New York’s next trip, Chandler did a nice job tapping out a miss by Stoudemire and Cleveland had to foul Kidd, who couldn’t close it out at the line and the Knicks had to turn to their defense to complete the comeback.
The Knicks were down 52-30 when Anthony caught a pass near midcourt, tripped over his own feet and fell. He stayed on his back for several seconds, got up and headed directly to New York’s locker room. Anthony didn’t appear to be injured and seemed to be more embarrassed than anything.
With Anthony out and icing his knee and maybe getting a massage for his ego, the Knicks went on a 17-4 run and closed within 61-49 at halftime — not bad, considering how poorly they had played.
Woodson started Stoudemire and Smith in the second half and the Knicks opened the third with a 15-3 spurt, catching the Cavs at 64-all.
The Cavs were without rookie starters Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller, who were both stricken with a nasty stomach virus over the weekend. They were taken to the hospital to get fluids, but were resting at home during the game.
Cleveland’s Marreese Speights made his first 10 shots and finished with 23 points. Luke Walton added a career-high 12 assists for the Cavs.