At halftime, they retired Ilgauskas' jersey during a poignant ceremony. The big man overcame serious foot injuries early in his career to become the club's career leader in rebounds, games played and blocked shots.
Ilgauskas thanked Cleveland fans during the ceremony, which included James sitting again on Cleveland's sideline.
James, who famously left Cleveland as a free agent in 2010, kept a low profile as Ilgauskas' jersey was raised to the rafters, but afterward he greeted his close friend and then posed for photos on the floor with former teammates Delonte West and Daniel "Boobie" Gibson.
Anthony said the long halftime break helped.
"It was good for me because I got some rest," said Anthony, who was unaware James was at the game. "I got a chance to lay on the floor and let Z do his thing. He took some time up. I appreciate him for that."
Anthony couldn't buy a basket in the early minutes before heating up.
He scored nine straight points to help the Knicks open a 45-35 lead, and then made his sixth shot in a row, a 3-pointer, to give New York a 14-point cushion.
Hawes made consecutive 3-pointers to get the Cavs within six, but Smith dropped the first of his five 3-pointers and New York pushed its lead to 58-43.
Irving, though, closed the second quarter with seven quick points to pull the Cavs to 58-50 at halftime.
NOTES: The Knicks made 14 3s. ... Cavs C Anderson Varejao played 9 minutes after missing the previous 12 games with a sore back. ... James flew in from Chicago to support Ilgauskas, his teammate for eight seasons in Cleveland. With the Heat playing on Sunday, James chartered a jet to witness the ceremony. Dressed smartly in a dark suit, James sat in a luxury suite during the first half before coming down to the floor at halftime to see Ilgauskas' jersey raised to the rafters. ... Beginning with a game in Phoenix on Wednesday, the Cavs will play six straight games — three at home, three on the road — against teams currently in playoff position. After the Suns, Cleveland will travel to Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers before hosting Miami, Oklahoma City and Houston.