December 18, 2014

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Postseason hopes fading fast as Cavaliers fall to Knicks

Cleveland Cavaliers' Dion Waiters dunks the ball over New York Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Dion Waiters dunks the ball over New York Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND — In other news, the Cavaliers lost again.

On the night they retired the No. 11 jersey of former center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the Cavs laid another egg on the court Saturday, falling 107-97 to the New York Knicks in front of a sellout crowd at Quicken Loans Arena.

Cleveland (24-40) has dropped four straight, seven of its last nine and plays at Phoenix, at Golden State, at the Los Angeles Clippers and then hosts Miami, Oklahoma City and Houston in its next six games.

The Knicks (24-40), meanwhile, won their third straight and moved into a tie with the Cavs for 10th place in the woeful Eastern Conference.

“We’re fighting for our lives,” Cavs coach Mike Brown said. “That team was a game behind us. I just felt like we didn’t come out with the right mindset to compete with this team for that eighth spot (in the Eastern Conference playoffs).”

Nothing could save the Cavs in this one.

Not an emotional — and lengthy — halftime ceremony honoring Ilgauskas.

Not the return of Anderson Varejao, who had four points and three rebounds in nine minutes after missing 12 games with a sore back.

Not 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists from Kyrie Irving, who played 43 minutes.

Even the rumors of Phil Jackson possibly returning to New York didn’t distract the Knicks, who got 26 points and seven rebounds from Carmelo Anthony, 17 points and 12 boards from Amar’e Stoudemire and 15 points and 11 rebounds from Tyson Chandler as their starting front line outscored Cleveland’s 58-39 and outrebounded it 30-21.

“We don’t have a ton of room for error,” Brown said. “This group that we do have, sometimes we slip. When we do slip, it takes us awhile to get out of that.”

The Cavs got their trademark 3-for-12 shooting from Luol Deng, eight points and four rebounds in 37 minutes from a virtually invisible Tristan Thompson and Irving-like defense from Dion Waiters, who played just 14 minutes because he didn’t guard anyone all night.

Other than Irving, Cleveland’s only productive player was center Spencer Hawes, who had 21 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in 36 minutes. Guard Jarrett Jack posted 12 points, but he was 5-for-13 from the field, including 0-for-4 on 3-pointers, in 39 minutes. He also had just three assists and three turnovers.

All five Cavs starters played at least 36 minutes, but all it resulted in was an even bigger hill to climb if this team is going to make the playoffs.

“It’s a little rough,” Jack said. “You have to play so well and also have others not play so well. That’s the situation we’re in.”

For that, the Cavs have only themselves to blame.

They fell behind the Knicks by 15 points with 1:16 remaining in the first half, but seven straight points by Irving made it an eight-point game at intermission.

The Cavs were only down one after three periods, but lost the fourth period 30-21. In its four-game losing streak, Cleveland has been outscored 115-88 in the fourth quarter.

When the Cavs did force the Knicks to miss shots, New York usually got an offensive rebound. Cleveland was beaten 49-37 on the boards.

“They killed us in second-chance points,” Jack said.

The final tally in that category was actually just 16-10 in favor of the Knicks, but the Cavs were unable to make any kind of run over the final seven minutes of the game.

Now they go on the road for three tough games, then come home to face three even tougher opponents.

“Don’t look too far ahead,” Jack said. “Try to stay even-keeled. Don’t get too low on yourself, but don’t get too high, either.”

“I always believe we have a chance,” Brown added. “We have guys in that locker room that are capable.”

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @RickNoland.

Knicks 107, Cavaliers 97

NEW YORK (107): Anthony 10-23 2-2 26, Stoudemire 7-16 3-4 17, Chandler 5-9 5-7 15, Felton 2-6 4-4 8, Smith 6-13 0-0 17, Shumpert 3-8 0-0 7, Hardaway Jr. 2-6 0-0 5, Prigioni 3-6 2-2 11, Tyler 0-1 0-2 0, Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Clark 0-0 0-0 0, Murry 0-0 1-2 1, Aldrich 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 38-88 17-23 107.
CLEVELAND (97): Deng 3-12 2-2 10, Thompson 3-8 2-2 8, Hawes 7-15 3-3 21, Irving 11-25 5-6 30, Jack 5-13 2-2 12, Waiters 3-8 2-3 8, Varejao 2-2 0-0 4, Bennett 1-1 0-0 2, Gee 1-3 0-0 2, Dellavedova 0-0 0-0 0, Zeller 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 36-87 16-18 97.
New York 23 35 19 30 — 107
Cleveland 19 31 26 21 — 97
3-Point Goals—New York 14-31 (Smith 5-9, Anthony 4-7, Prigioni 3-5, Shumpert 1-4, Hardaway Jr. 1-5, Felton 0-1), Cleveland 9-23 (Hawes 4-7, Irving 3-9, Deng 2-3, Jack 0-4). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—New York 64 (Stoudemire 12), Cleveland 45 (Hawes 10). Assists—New York 26 (Felton 6), Cleveland 21 (Irving 8). Total Fouls—New York 16, Cleveland 17. A—20,562 (20,562).

NEXT UP

WHO: Cleveland vs. Phoenix
WHEN: Wednesday, 10 p.m.
WHERE: U.S. Airways Center, Phoenix
TV/RADIO: FS Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM