Full Highlights: Cavs receive championship rings, destroy Knicks in season opener 117-88
There was no championship hangover on ring night as the Cavaliers overcame a rusty start to blow out the New York Knicks. Emotions were high as the very first world championship banner graced the rafters at the Q, but the Cavs kept their focus to start the season with a win.
The Knicks started off well, with new recruit Derrick Rose slashing the lane and Carmelo Anthony finding his stroke early. The Cavs and Knicks traded buckets to start the game, but the Knicks then went cold as they struggled to adapt to the triangle offense against the Cavs defensive setup. The Cavs then found their feet an opened up some separation, 28-18 after the first period.
The second quarter started much of the same, as the Cavaliers kicked on an opened up a once 13 point lead. The signs of a blowout were beginning to appear, before the Knicks dug deep and put together a nice run. They struggled as Carmelo took a break of the bench, and after he started 6/9, the rest of the Knicks were 3/17 from the floor. Anthony re-entered the game, Kristaps Porzingis nailed a couple of threes, and the Knicks were right back in the game. All the Cavs initial hard work diminished as they walked into halftime up only three points, 45-48.
The Cavs tightened up their defense, eliminated their turnovers, and took over the contest in the third period. LeBron James went on a rim attack and Kyrie Irving opened up the offensive arsenal as he had 19 of his 29 points in the third quarter alone. The Cavs started creating turnovers and running, and the Knicks simply could not keep up. An improved defensive effort and performance held the Knicks to just 19 points in the third quarter, as the Cavs poured on 34. Cavs comprehensively up 82-64 after three.
Despite the large lead, LeBron James started the fourth quarter as he was only two rebounds away from an opening night triple double. Midway through the final quarter, the king secured his second rebound, and registered the first triple double by a player on opening night since Jason Kidd in 2006. The Cavs continued to score the ball and the game was well and truly over, as the second unit saw the contest out.
Kyrie Irving finished with 29 points, Kevin Love had 23 and 12 rebounds, and LeBron finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists as the high men on the night.
The Cavaliers made sure there was absolutely no championship hangover as they started this new journey the right way.