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New York Knicks: Takeaways from Win Against the Cleveland Cavaliers

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New York Knicks: Takeaways from Win Against the Cleveland Cavaliers
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Amar'e Stoudemire had a strong night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The New York Knicks bounced back from the loss against the Miami Heat with a 102-98 victory on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers

The win extended New York's record to 36-21, which puts the Knicks at the No. 3 seed, behind the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat.

The Cavaliers, on the other hand, dropped to 20-40 despite Kyrie Irving's return to the lineup. They are now 10.5 games behind No. 8 Milwaukee Bucks with just 22 games to go.  

For a long time, it looked like the Knicks were going to lose their second straight game. They were down by 22 points in the second quarter but refused to give up and fought their way back into the game. The end result was New York's first win against Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena since November 29, 2006.

 

Carmelo Anthony goes down

Knicks fans held their breath when Carmelo Anthony fell awkwardly in the middle of the second quarter. Anthony exited the game with 6:41 left in the half and was replaced by Amar'e Stoudemire.

Reports quickly surfaced that Anthony had suffered an injury to his right knee and would not return for the rest of the game.  

Anthony hardly put up his best numbers of the season before he had to leave the court. He had a mere six points on just 1-of-5 shooting from the field in 14 minutes.

Nevertheless, if the Knicks' leading scorer is gone for an extended period of time, New York has reason to be unsettled. The forward has put up some of the best numbers of his career this season.

He is averaging 28.6 PPG, which is far above his career average of 24.9. In his five past games, he has averaged 31.6 PPG, so Knicks fans should hope for a speedy recovery.

However, for the rest of this particular game the Knicks didn't seem to mind Melo's absence. In fact, ESPN Stats & Info tweeted that New York outscored Cleveland 72-45 after Anthony left.

Much of the credit for Monday night's victory goes to Stoudemire

 

Amar'e Stoudemire owns the night

With Anthony out of the game, Stoudemire became the Knicks' go-to-guy. That's a role he has not held for a couple of years.

When Stoudemire came back in January after being sidelined for the first two months of the season, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson opted to have the power forward come off the bench. Stoudemire embraced the new role and provided the Knicks with great spark during his limited minutes. 

So far, Stoudemire has averaged 22.7 MPG and never played more than 30 minutes during a single game. That was before tonight.

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Stoudemire played more than 30 minutes for the first time this season.

Stoudemire played 32 minutes and absolutely dominated the game. He led the Knicks in points with 22 and was 10-of-15 from the field.

He also came through in the clutch with a key play for the Knicks with 40 seconds left on the clock. Stoudemire caught his own offensive rebound and proceeded to score a layup to grow the Knicks' lead to four points.

 

The Knicks bench finally came through

It was encouraging to see the Knicks use the full extent of their roster more than they have done in previous games. The entire bench, with the exception of Kenyon Martin and Kurt Thomas, got at least a few minutes on the court. That's in stark contrast to Sunday's game against the Miami Heat where only four bench players were utilized.

Pablo Prigioni was back on the court after being left out for the last two games. Marcus Camby also returned for the first time since January 10.

Jason Kidd came off the bench for just the third time this season, but was on the court for 30 minutes. He continued where he left off from the Heat game and produced 12 points and eight rebounds.

Another highlight was Steve Novak, who finally broke out of his slump. The three-point specialist was 4-of-7 from behind the arc and scored 15 points, his highest since the home game against the Sacramento Kings on February 2.

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