LeBron shines under bright lights of Big Apple
New York, NY (Sports Network) – Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 31 points and 15
rebounds, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 92-86 win over the New York
Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Rookie phenom LeBron James added 22 points for the Cavaliers, who have won
four straight versus the Knicks. Carlos Boozer chipped in 14 points and 17
boards, as Cleveland earned its second consecutive win overall.
“[Ilgauskas] was outstanding,” Cleveland head coach Paul Silas said. “Each
game he gets better.”
Stephon Marbury scored 20 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter to lead the
Knicks. Kurt Thomas had 16 points, while Tim Thomas and Shandon Anderson both
had 10 for New York, which has dropped two in a row and four of its last five.
Cleveland opened the second half on an 11-4 run and made it 55-44 after
Ilgauskas made a free throw to complete a three-point play. Ilgauskas later
added a basket to push the margin to 66-55. The Cavs then carried a 70-55
advantage into the fourth quarter.
Ilgauskas scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter for the
Cavaliers, who took a 78-56 lead with about 8 1/2 minutes remaining in the
“Once he gets going he’s tough to stop,” Knicks coach Lenny Wilkens said. “I
thought we were going to do a better job on him.”
New York showed some life and closed within 81-68 thanks to a 10-0 run with
three minutes to go. The Knicks, though, later cut the lead to 88-84 on
consecutive layups by Marbury with 17.7 seconds remaining. Boozer was then
fouled on the inbounds pass and made both shots for a six-point lead.
After a New York basket, James was sent to the foul line and drained both
attempts to seal the win. Cleveland has won five of the last eight meetings
with the Knicks and halted a five-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden.
James, making his MSG debut, sank a pair from the free throw line to give
Cleveland a 12-10 lead with 7:28 left in the first quarter. New York came back
and later grabbed a 24-20 lead on a floater by Anderson with less than two
minutes remaining. The Cavs, however, tied the game at 24 apiece after 12
minutes of play.
“I was looking forward to it,” James said of his first trip to the legendary
New York court. “We were able to hold on get the win.”
Boozer’s dunk almost two minutes into the second quarter staked Cleveland to a
31-26 lead. The Knicks then scored eight of the next nine points for a slim
34-32 edge. Both squads continued to battle with Cleveland holding a 44-40
lead at halftime.
Ilgauskas had 18 points and 11 rebounds at the break, while Anderson and Kurt
Thomas recorded eight points apiece for New York.