(AP) – The last time the New York Knicks were in Cleveland, they fell apart down the stretch in a loss that turned out to be the Cavaliers’ lone victory in an 11-week stretch.
New York will be bringing a few more late-game options to Quicken Loans Arena this time.
Carmelo Anthony makes his Knicks road debut Friday night trying to help his new team avoid a 10th straight loss Cavaliers, who made a few intriguing moves shortly before Thursday’s trade deadline.
New York led Cleveland 86-82 with 6:50 remaining on Dec. 18, but missed nine of its last 11 shots in regulation before losing 109-102 in overtime.
It was the Cavs’ ninth straight win in the series – LeBron James, of course, had much to do with the first eight – but it was their only victory in a 37-game stretch from Nov. 30-Feb. 9.
After the past week, both rosters look considerably different than they did in December. The Knicks (29-26) made the most anticipated splash leading up to the trade deadline Tuesday by landing Anthony and Chauncey Billups, neither of whom disappointed in their debuts Wednesday against Milwaukee.
Anthony had 11 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, while Billups had 21 – including four free throws in the final 21 seconds – to help New York hold on to win 114-108 even after Amare Stoudemire fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
“Now you’ve got two guys that can take over a game, and one of them took it over (Wednesday),” team president Donnie Walsh said. “In the past, if Amare had fouled out, we could’ve won the game, but not in that fashion.”
The Knicks have won three straight for the first time since Jan. 2-7.
“I know we got to jell. We got to get our chemistry down,” Anthony said. “At the same time, we’ve got to roll. We got things to go out there and accomplish. We got goals to reach, and it starts now.”
The Cavaliers (10-47) are in full rebuilding mode with James gone and Anderson Varejao out for the season, and they took another step in that direction Thursday. Cleveland shipped Mo Williams and Jamario Moon to the Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis and an unprotected 2011 first-round pick.
Davis makes nearly $12 million more than Williams on the remaining two years of his deal, but the Cavs felt adding another likely top-10 pick was worth that price.
“We feel good about it,” general manager Chris Grant told the team’s official website. “It gives us another opportunity and a ‘chip in the game,’ so to speak, that, because of our ownership group willing to step up at a pretty high level financially, allowed us to do something like this.”
Davis, who had 16 points and 16 assists in helping the Clippers win at Madison Square Garden earlier this month, likely won’t arrive in time for Friday’s game. He’ll be coming off the bench if he does, with Ramon Sessions – averaging 19.7 points and 9.2 assists this month – starting.
Later Thursday, Cleveland sent a 2013 second-round pick to Boston for rookies Semih Erden and Luke Harangody.
None of the Cavs’ new acquisitions figure to offer much help defensively, but as they showed in their first game following the All-Star break, they certainly need it. Cleveland shot 51.6 percent and hit 13 3-pointers Wednesday against Houston, but was outrebounded 57-37 in a 124-119 loss.
The Cavaliers edged New York 56-47 on the boards Dec. 18, though Varejao had 17 of those.
Anthony has averaged 36.5 points in his last two visits to Cleveland.
Updated February 24, 2011
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