LOS ANGELES (dpa) – A week after the NBA All-Star Game and the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers are showing no signs of slowing down.
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving scored 18 points apiece Sunday, and the visiting Cavs crushed the New York Knicks 101-83 for their 16th win in the last 18 games.
Since returning from last Sunday’s league mid-season showpiece, the Cavs whipped Washington by 38 Friday before routing the lowly Knicks.
JR Smith fired in 17 points while Iman Shumpert contributed four with seven assists and five rebounds in their return to Madison Square Garden since being dealt to Cleveland in early January.
“This is home for me,” Smith said. “It was very emotional.”
With the game long decided in the fourth quarter, Smith gave the Garden fans a treat, taking a lob pass from Shumpert in mid-air and throwing down an eye-popping double-pump reverse dunk for the exclamation point that put the Cavs up by 30.
Langston Galloway had 13 points to pace the league-worst Knicks (10-45) who fell behind early and never recovered en route to their seventh straight loss.
James scored a dozen points and the visitors hit a sizzling 15-of-21 shots to take a 36-17 lead after one that swelled to 62-38 at halftime.
Cleveland carried an 81-55 cushion into the final stanza and coasted home with the wire-to-wire win.
– Indiana Pacers 104, Golden State Warriors 98: Rodney Stuckey scored 30 points and the Pacers (23-33) won for the sixth time in the last seven games after defeating the
league-best but short-handed Warriors.
Klay Thompson scored 39 for visiting Golden State (43-10), playing without starting All-Star guard Stephen Curry, because of right ankle soreness.
– Oklahoma City Thunder 119, Denver Nuggets 94: Russell Westbrook collected 21 points, a career-high 17 assists and eight rebounds, as Thunder (31-25) – without Kevin Durant – won its sixth in a row while handing the visiting Nuggets (20-35) their seventh loss in eight games.
– Atlanta Hawks 97, Milwaukee Bucks 86: Paul Millsap had 23 points with 16 rebounds, and the Eastern Conference-best Hawks (44-12) bounced the Bucks, two nights after suffering a 25-point beat-down by Toronto.