CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth in a row, coming from behind to best the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena, 96-86.
Here are five things to know about Wednesday’s game:
1. No sleeves, please
The Cavs wore their new sleeved black jerseys for the first time this season, but it didn’t take long for LeBron James to make some uniforms adjustments of his own. Prior to halftime, James intentionally tore the sleeves on his jersey to give himself some additional freedom and flexibility.
After the game, LeBron said his alterations were as a result of some early performance frustrations, not the uniforms themselves. However, James did complain about sleeved jerseys back in 2014 when he played for the Miami Heat.
“The jersey was the only thing I could go to,” James said. “I couldn’t do nothing to my face”
He did say, however, that he wouldn’t mind wearing the uniforms again if the fans liked them. Given LeBron’s in-game tailoring, though, it remains to be seen how soon, if ever, we see the black jerseys return.
“All I know is we’re 1-0 in those jerseys,” coach David Blatt said with a smile.
2. Ugly? More like gritty
Blatt was slightly annoyed when a reporter called the win ugly in his postgame meeting with the media. “Can we say win with difficulty as opposed to win ugly? Would that be OK?” Blatt retorted.
In any case, the Cavs were sloppy early and had to overcome an early 15-point deficit in the first quarter to pull ahead just before the end of the third quarter. Overall, Cleveland shot just a shade below 40 percent and were 7-for-27 on threes.
24 fastbreak points helped the Cavaliers overcome some shooting woes.
“We’re not clicking on all cylinders yet,” Blatt said. “The good news is we’ve played five games and we’re 4-1”
3. Just lob it
A pair of tear drop lobs from Matthew Dellavedova to Tristan Thompson helped energize the Cavs in the second half, as Thompson punctuated the passes from his teammate and brought the crowd to their feet. Thompson was also instrumental on the glass, pulling down 13 rebounds in addition to his 10 points.
Cleveland received 21 total points from their bench — big considering Richard Jefferson was forced into the starting lineup due to an injury to J.R. Smith.
Overall, the Cavs scored 58 points in the second half after a dismal 38-point first half.
4. Struggles from deep
James has scuffled early this season from beyond the three-point line, and those struggles continued with a 1-for-5 performance from deep on Wednesday night.
“I’m just out of rhythm,” he said after totaling 23 points in the victory. “I’ve just got to continue to work at it. It’s not like I’m Steph Curry or J.J. Redick to begin with.”
This season, James is shooting just 11.1 percent (2-for-18) from beyond the arc. On Wednesday, LeBron finished 9-for-23 from the field and 4-for-7 from the free-throw line.
5. Just like old times
One of the biggest reasons the Cavs brought back Mo Williams was to add some additional offensive punch. With Kyrie Irving still on the mend, that production is even more critical now.
Williams dropped 22 points on Wednesday night, connecting on a pair of triples and hitting James for a slick running slam late in the game.
Perhaps playing with LeBron is just like riding a bike? That appears to be a possibility, given the early rhythm Williams and James have been in to begin the campaign.