Knicks clinch playoff berth with rout of Cavaliers

Posted: 04/04/2011 in NBA

Knicks clinch playoff spot with win over Cavs

Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups all eclipsed the 20-point mark, and the New York Knicks clinched a playoff berth by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers, 123-107, for the first time this season.

The Knicks’ third straight win, coupled with the Charlotte Bobcats’ loss to Washington on Sunday, puts them in the postseason for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign.

“Everyone should be excited that Knicks basketball is back. The standards are higher now,” Anthony said.

Three of Cleveland’s 15 wins this season have come against the Knicks, including two since New York traded for Anthony.

But the Knicks, currently the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, avoided the season sweep behind their triumvirate and 22 forced turnovers. Stoudemire totaled 28 points and seven rebounds, Anthony added 25 points and Billups chipped in 23 points and seven assists in the win.

J.J. Hickson scored 23 points and Baron Davis chipped in 22 for the Cavaliers, who have dropped three in a row since beating Miami last Tuesday.

“It makes it extremely hard when you have [22] turnovers,” Cavs head coach Byron Scott said. “We were very careless with the ball.”

The Knicks led by as many as 22 in the game, but Cleveland slowly chipped away and were within five heading to the fourth.

Ramon Sessions opened the final frame with a bucket for a three-point game, 93-90, but the Cavs went the next four minutes without scoring.

New York’s subsequent 12-0 run gave it a 15-point advantage following two Bill Walker free throws with eight minutes remaining.

The margin never dipped below double digits from there.

The Cavs committed eight turnovers in a first quarter that saw Billups explode for 17 points. The veteran guard scored the final eight points on a 14-0 run that helped New York take a 36-25 lead after 12 minutes.

The cushion reached 61-39 on an Anthony jumper with four minutes left in the half, but Davis scored 12 points in just a two-minute span a little later to keep Cleveland within striking distance.

New York was on top, 67-57, at the break and led throughout the third, which ended with the hosts holding a 93-88 edge.

– Steve


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s