CLEVELAND – The 2016-17 NBA season officially got underway on Tuesday night with Cleveland Cavaliers getting the defense of the title off to a winning start. Box Score
After collecting their rings and raised their championship banner before the game, the Cavaliers got down to business.
IRVING EXPLODES IN 3RD QUARTER
Kyrie Irving scored 29 points and LeBron James finished with a triple-double to lead the Cavs to a 117-88 victory over the new York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena.
Irving, who had a breakout third quarter, shot 12-of-22 overall from the floor, including knocking down four 3-pointers, while dishing out four assists in 29 minutes.
James played 32 minutes in Tuesday’s season opener and collected 19 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds for Cleveland, with Kevin Love ending with 23 points, 12 rebounds and three steals for the defending champions.
“It’s hard to put into words what tonight meant,” Love said after the game.
James was grabbing his 43rd career regular-season triple-double.
Richard Jefferson scored 13 points for the Cavs, who scored 45 baskets on 31 assists.
For the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points on 8-for-18 shooting and pulled down five rebounds, while Derrick Rose on 7-for-17 shooting.
Kristaps Porzingis added 16 points and seven rebounds in the defeat for New York.
FIRST QUARTER STATS
Carmelo Anthony started the game strongly after going 5-for-7 for 11 points in 10 minutes of action in the first quarter.
But the Knicks turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter and Anthony had three of them.
Kevin Love also played 10 minutes in the first quarter and scored 10 points, with LeBron James scoring six points, five assists and four rebounds for the Cavaliers.
HALF TIME STATS
The Cavs led by as many as 15 points, but the Knicks went on a 15-2 run to knot the game up at 41-41 with 4:13 left in the quarter.
However, buckets by Irving, Richard Jefferson and Iman Shumpert build back a slight lead for the home side, which went into the break with a 48-45 advantage.
Love, James and Irving all scored in double digits in the first half for the Cavaliers, while Anthony and Rose reached double digits for the Knicks in the opening half.
The Cavaliers took a remarkable 21 attempt behind the 3-point line in the first half, but was successful at making just four.
THIRD QUARTER STATS
Cleveland jumped on New York early after the interval and used a 20-6 run to open up a 74-53 lead with 3:47 left in the third quarter.
Irving accounted for 10 points for the Cavaliers during that run.
Shumpert left the game in the third quarter with concussion-like symptoms after colliding in the hip of Kristaps Porzingis during a low drive to the basket.
He did not return.