NEW YORK (Sporting Alert, Box Score) — Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 37 points, including a clutch layup and the Cleveland Cavaliers frustrated Carmelo Anthony in a 90-87 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.
Irving, who shot 12 for 18 in the game, scored 23 of his overall points in the first half, including 17 in the second quarter.
“My teammates got me in a great rhythm tonight,” Irving said after the win. “The greatest thing we have right now is that we trust each other.
“We are still figuring out (how to play with each other), but we are grinding it out… coming here and winning ball games like this, even if it wasn’t our best.”
LeBron James added 19 points, 12 assists and five rebounds in the win for the Cavaliers (10-7), which have now won five straight.
Tim Hardaway Jr., who scored 16 points in the first half, led the Knicks with 20 points off the bench. He also went 4 of 5 from three-point range in the first half to set a new career-high for first half 3s.
Amar’e Stoudemire collected 18 points and nine rebounds and Quincy Acy finished with 15 points and six boards in the defeat for New York, which dropped its last six games and 15 of the last 17.
However, star forward Anthony struggled on the night after he went just 4 for 19 in the game, including 1 for 11 in the second half.
Anthony, who ended with nine points and 10 rebounds, missed the last play off the game, as he went for a game-tying three-pointer with the clock expiring.
New York (4-16) controlled most of the game, but a series of turnovers allowed the Cavs to find a rhythm and claw back into the contest.
Irving scored 11 of the Cavs’ final 12 points in the second quarter to end an impressive run going into the halftime break, and then scored seven of the first 12 points to start the third quarter for Cleveland.
The Cavaliers outscored the Knicks 9-2 in the last 1:40 of the second quarter.
The visitors also used a 7-0 run in the fourth quarter to take an 86-85 lead on a James 27-foot three-pointer with 3:54 left.
Moments later James capitalised on a turnover by Jose Calderon with a dunk before Irving finished off a left-handed teardrop layup with 0:10 left to put the Cavs 90-87 up.
Kevin Love scored 11 points and 11 rebounds in 39 minutes for the Cavaliers, which shot 45.7 percent from the floor.
Cleveland will next be in action on Friday at the Toronto Raptors.
New York, who is making its worst start in the franchise history, plays at Charlotte on the same night.