LeBron scores 23, lifts Cavaliers to 96-86 win over Knicks

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James waits during a timeout in the second half of an NBA basketball game
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James waits during a timeout in the second half of an NBA basketball game

CLEVELAND (AP) – LeBron James scored 23 points and did some quick tailoring on Cleveland’s tight, sleeved uniforms, Mo Williams scored 22 and the Cavaliers won their fourth straight, 96-86 over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

James made a 3-pointer and dunked off a nice pass from Williams while scoring 11 in the fourth quarter, when the Cavs outscored the Knicks 26-17.

Tristan Thompson grabbed 13 rebounds and Kevin Love had 12 rebounds for Cleveland, which hasn’t lost since opening night in Chicago.

Carmelo Anthony scored 17 and rookie Kristaps Porzingis 13 for the Knicks, who were even at 75-all in the fourth when James went to work.

Cleveland’s star capped a 12-4 spurt with a 3-pointer – just his second this season – to give Cleveland an 87-79 lead with 4:01 remaining. Later, he blasted down the lane and thundered home his dunk off a great look from Williams.

James, who earlier this week became the youngest player in league history to reach 25,000 points, had an off-night from the field, going just 9 of 23.

He might have an excuse.

During the first half, an irritated James performed an in-game alteration on Cleveland’s new sleeved jerseys. The four-time MVP, who has complained in the past that the retro-looking tops are too tight for his arms and shoulders, tore the sleeves open midway through a 4-of-11 shooting performance in the opening 24 minutes.

The Cavs were wearing the black, body-hugging uniforms for the first time.

James has never liked the sleeved jerseys, introduced by the NBA as an alternate look two seasons ago. Following a loss to San Antonio in 2014 when he was with Miami, James said the uniforms restricted his arms and shoulders, making it difficult to shoot.

Down by 15 in the first quarter, the Cavs didn’t take their first lead until late in third quarter when Matthew Dellavedova fed Thompson with a lob for a dunk, giving Cleveland a 70-69 lead.

TIP-INS

Knicks: New York shot 62 percent (13 of 21) to open its 15-point bulge. … G Arron Afflalo (strained left hamstring) could make his season debut this weekend. He’s done some on-court work but has yet to be cleared for contact drills. … New York is 2-1 on the road, 0-2 at home. … Anthony, now 12-12 in head-to-head matchups with James, joked that he misses former teammates Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, who were traded by the Knicks to Cleveland last season. “It seems like LeBron took all my family from me,” Anthony snapped.

Cavaliers: Guard Kyrie Irving hasn’t given a date on his possible return from a broken kneecap, but the All-Star told ESPN.com he “sees the light at the end of the tunnel.” … Since Jan. 19, the Cavs are 22-1 in the regular season on their home floor. …Thompson played in his 293rd consecutive game dating to Feb. 10, 2012. … Smith sat out with a bruised knee and is expected to miss at least one more game.

UP NEXT

Knicks: Host Milwaukee on Friday.

Cavaliers: Host Philadelphia on Friday.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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