Knicks crush Cavs 117-86, win fourth straight

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 30, 2014 at 10:55 pm •  Published: January 30, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — J.R. Smith left Anthony Bennett standing still and Tristan Thompson on his backside.

The New York Knicks didn't just beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, they embarrassed them.

Carmelo Anthony and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. each scored 29 points, Smith had 19, and the Knicks won 117-86 Thursday night for their fourth straight victory.

The Knicks wrapped up a 10-6 January after going just 9-21 through the end of December. They have rebounded from losing the first three games on their franchise record-tying, eight-game homestand and can finish it with a winning record if they beat Miami on Saturday night.

"It is starting to feel a lot better here on our home court to win basketball games," Anthony said. "We're just trying to keep it going."

Anthony scored 18 in the first quarter, only two off his total from his franchise-record, 62-point game Friday night. But he sat nearly half of the second quarter to fall well off the pace, as he had 37 points at halftime that night.

He still scored enough to become the 50th player in NBA history to surpass 19,000 points.

Hardaway had a career high in points and tied the Knicks' rookie record with six 3-pointers.

"I knew that if I could shoot the ball very, very well at the next level, then I should be able to help the team out," he said.

But the dazzling plays were provided by Smith, who had to keep himself from laughing when he crossed over Thompson so bad that the forward fell down as Smith was making a jumper.

Smith was starting for Iman Shumpert, who was out with a sprained right shoulder. The Knicks were also missing Andrea Bargnani (left elbow ligament), Kenyon Martin (sprained left ankle) and Amare Stoudemire (sprained left ankle), who are all starters or key reserves.

Even without them, they cruised to their third easy victory during their winning streak.

"These are the bright spots you want to have, especially playing at home," Smith said. "You've got your teammates on the bench going crazy, guys on the court are excited and love to play the game and there's nothing better than that."

Kyrie Irving scored 24 points for the Cavs on a day in which his long-term commitment to Cleveland was again questioned.

"There's just so much negative attention. I mean I know we're struggling, but I mean it's just not about me. It's about our team," Irving said.

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