|Date of game: 10/30/2014
Recap: Cleveland vs. New York
Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James is home.
It doesn't matter that he only shot 5-of-15 in his first home game in front of a raucous crowd at Quicken Loans Arena in four years, or that he turned the ball over eight times, or even that his Cavaliers lost.
What matters, is that he's home.
Carmelo Anthony spoiled James' homecoming, scoring 25 points to lead the New York Knicks past Cleveland on Thursday, 95-90.
James' long anticipated return to Cleveland didn't go quite according to plan, but there are 81 more regular season games to go for the new-look Cavs to sort things out. Kevin Love, acquired in a blockbuster deal from the Timberwolves, had 19 points and 14 rebounds in his first action in a Cleveland uniform, while returning star Kyrie Irving led the way with 22 points and seven assists.
The four-time MVP James famously left his hometown for the Miami Heat following the 2009-10 season. He led Miami to four straight championship appearances, winning two, before signing with Cleveland this offseason.
"It was a huge night," said James. "It was exciting for the fans, exciting for the city. Now we can just play regular basketball."
James finished with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists in the setback. The Cavs are 2-6 in season openers with him in the lineup.
"My turnovers, some of them were careless and some of them were chemistry. I'm throwing passes where I was hoping some of my teammates would be."
After leading 67-64 through three quarters, the Knicks used a 10-1 run midway through the fourth to create a nine-point cushion. Anthony capped the surge with a 3-pointer, and the lead was 80-71.
With 2:20 to play, Love hit a 3-ball from the left wing to pull the Cavs within five. Cleveland then forced a 24-second violation and Irving hit a circus layup.
Love could have tied it with another 3 from the left wing on the next possession, but hit the front rim. At the other end, J.R. Smith got a floater to fall to give the Knicks some breathing room with 48 seconds to play.
Anthony followed a James layup with a difficult baseline jumper with 25.9 left, and Irving's 3-ball at the other end spun around the rim and fell out. Jason Smith secured the rebound, and the game for the Knicks.
"They showed a high level of trust and confidence in each other," said new Knicks head coach Derek Fisher. "They showed a lot of patience and composure, and those are the types of things we need as we move through this season."
Earlier, Love carved out space underneath for an open layup on Cleveland's first possession of the game, entering the scoring column just 13 seconds in. Anthony then scored six straight points at the other end around a pair of James missed jumpers.
James' first field goal of his return came at 6:30 of the first on a trademark outlet pass from Love. James absorbed a foul from Anthony in transition and muscled in a layup but missed the ensuing free throw out of a timeout.
His layup was part of a 14-2 Cavs run that Shane Larkin finally ended with a pull-up jumper seven minutes in.
Cleveland assisted on nine of its 10 field goals in the first quarter and led 25-18 after one.
The lead reached 11, but New York clawed to within three midway through the second after Quincy Acy's layup and tied it late in the period on J.R. Smith's 3-pointer. It was 42-42 with time winding down in the half when Irving threw an alley-oop to Tristan Thompson just before the buzzer sounded.
James finished the opening half 1-for-9 from the floor with four turnovers, but Cleveland led 44-42.
The Knicks were the hot team out of the break, opening the third quarter on a 9-2 run to go in front, 51-46. They never trailed after that.Game Notes
This was the first game of James' career that he had at least eight turnovers,
fewer than 20 points and fewer than five assists ... James and Irving both
logged more than 43 minutes of playing time ... New York's bench outscored
Cleveland's, 41-12 ... Jason Smith and Iman Shumpert both scored 12 for the
Knicks ... Prior to the game, the Knicks announced that point guard Jose
Calderon would miss 2-to-3 weeks with a strained right calf.