LeBron James scored 23 points and reserve guard Kyle Korver added 21 as the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied from a 24-point deficit Monday (Tuesday in Manila) to edge the New York Knicks 104-101.
Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James added 12 assists and nine rebounds for the visiting Cavs, who were down by two dozen points in the third quarter before storming back for the victory.
Trailing 97-92, the Cavaliers went on a 10-0 run to grab the lead, James sinking a step-back 3-pointer to give Cleveland a 100-97 edge with 83 seconds remaining, their first lead since 25-24 in the second quarter.
“I thought his defense is what turned it,” Korver said of James. “He’s always going to get in the paint and make plays. That is where he is really special. He is able to do everything. And he showed that in the fourth quarter.”
Korver, who sank two 3-pointers in the last 4:35, made four late free throws to offset baskets by Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jnr. James missed two late free throws but Jeff Green grabbed the rebound for Cleveland to deny the Knicks a potential tying shot at the buzzer.
Dwyane Wade added 15 off the bench for Cleveland while Hardaway led New York with 28 points and Porzingis added 20.
“King” James bumped French teen guard Frank Ntilikina early in the game and New York teammate Enes Kanter, a Turkish center, stood toe-to-toe with James, continuing a spat that began on social media that extended to post-game comments.
“You can’t just come in and mess with a rookie like that. Mess with a grown man,” Kanter said. “You can call yourself King, Queen, Princess, whatever, but you can’t punk us.”
Told of the remarks, James said, “We got the win. I’m not going to say that guy’s name again.”
Even with star guard Stephen Curry out with a bruised thigh, the defending champion Golden State Warriors dumped visiting Orlando 110-100. Kevin Durant had 21 points and Draymond Green added 20 to lead the Warriors.