By Tom Withers | Associated Press
CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving had 37 points and 11 assists and Jarrett Jack added 17 points, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 109-94 victory over the sinking New York Knicks on Tuesday night.
Irving, an All-Star point guard, had 12 points in the third quarter, when the Cavs outscored the defenseless Knicks 33-20 and pulled away. Tristan Thompson added 12 points and nine rebounds as Cleveland won its fourth straight at home.
New York, coming off an embarrassing 41-point loss at home to Boston, dropped to 5-15 and made coach Mike Woodson's future even more uncertain.
Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points and Amare Stoudemire had 15 for the Knicks, who erased an early 18-point deficit, gave it all back, fell behind by 19 and lost for the 11th time in 13 games.
After being outscored 22-4 during one stretch of the second quarter, the hard-to-figure Knicks got it together -- briefly. New York only trailed by three at halftime and were showing some signs of life, one game after enduring the most lopsided loss in the NBA this season.
Anthony's 3-pointer pulled New York within 53-52, but Thompson scored on a sensational, one-handed put-back dunk, triggering an 8-0 run that made it 61-52.
Irving hit a 3-pointer, and moments later, Cleveland's Alonzo Gee tipped the ball away from New York guard Pablo Prigioni near midcourt.
Gee picked up the loose ball and led a three-on-none Cavs break past a helpless Woodson, who stood on the sideline with his arms folded as Cleveland scored another easy basket.
The Cavs pushed their lead to 88-69 in the fourth quarter before the Knicks made one last run, getting within 90-77 on a jumper by Andrea Bargnani. But Jack hit a 3-pointer, Irving made one from long range and Cleveland finished off its largest win this season.
Looking for a spark and some inside muscle at both ends to offset the loss of Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin, Woodson started Metta World Peace, who came off the bench in New York's first 19 games.
"Metta has earned the right to be out there," Woodson said. "He's patiently waited for his opportunity."
Woodson's opportunity, on the other hand, could be ending.
On Monday, New York's third-year coach said he's "up to the task" of fixing the Knicks. He may not have much more time to get them repaired.
When the final horn sounded, Knicks assistant coach Herb Williams helped Woodson get out of his courtside chair by pushing him from behind.
He may soon be pushed aside.
With the Knicks misfiring and picking up early fouls, the Cavs built an 18-point lead in the first quarter behind Irving, who went scoreless for ths first time in his career on Friday in Atlanta. However, he came out in attack mode and had as many points as New York when Cleveland opened a 27-9 lead.
But the Cavs got sloppy with the ball in the second quarter, committing eight turnovers -- four on consecutive possessions -- as the Knicks pulled even at 40-all on Anthony's jumper and were within 48-45 at halftime.
— Chandler, out since Nov. 5 with a broken right leg, began practicing earlier this week and is encouraged by his progress. Chandler doesn't know exactly when he'll be back in the lineup. "I'm close. I'm not that close," he said. "I know I'm not game ready. I want to be able to get back on the court and give my team something as well as protect myself. When you're coming back from an injury, you just can't jump out there and not be afraid."
— Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon sat courtside and received a loud ovation when shown on the giant scoreboard during a timeout.
— Longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta celebrated his 74th birthday.