NEW YORK, April 10 ― Kevin Love had 28 points and LeBron James added 26 points, 11 assists and six rebounds to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 123-109 win over the host New York Knicks last night at Madison Square Garden.
Michael Beasley had 20 points to lead the Knicks, who lost for the sixth time in seven games to fall to 28-53 on the season with one game left on their schedule.
New York trimmed a 15-point deficit down to five midway through the fourth quarter before Love and James combined for 12 points down the stretch for Cleveland, which won for the 11th time in 13 games.
JR Smith and Jordan Clarkson each added 16 points and Larry Nance Jr. had 10 points off the bench for the Cavaliers (50-31). Love sank six 3-pointers and both Smith and Clarkson had four apiece for Cleveland, which moved within a half-game of the idle Philadelphia 76ers for the third spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Sixers have two games left while the Cavs have one.
Frank Ntilikina had 17 points, six rebounds and five assists and Courtney Lee added 17 points off the bench for the Knicks, who shot 53 percent. Lance Thomas had 14 points and Trey Burke added 12 points for New York.
The Cavaliers broke the game open in the second quarter after leading 26-25 through one, following a Smith 3-pointer with 25.3 seconds left off an assist from James. Cleveland went on a 13-4 run to open the second, increasing its lead to double figures. New York trimmed the margin to as few as four points before the Cavaliers stretched it to a dozen late in the first half before taking a 61-49 lead into halftime.
Love had 15 points in the first half on 5-for-9 shooting and James added 14 points. Smith also had 14 first-half points for Cleveland, which shot 47 percent from the field but 11-for-24 from 3-point range in the first half.
Ntilikina had 13 points in the first half on 6-for-11 shooting and Beasley added 12 to lead the Knicks, who shot 50 percent in the first half.
Overall, Cleveland shot 47.1 per cent from the floor, but the Cavs had a 24-6 edge in free-throw scoring.
The two teams meet again in Cleveland tomorrow to close out the regular season. ― Reuters