for this game

James gets plenty of rest as Cavaliers crush Knicks

Nov 26, 2008 - 5:06 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Before the game, the fans at Madison Square Garden greeted LeBron James warmly. They hope to cheer for him as a member of the home team in the future.

James scored 26 points then sat out the fourth quarter as the Cavaliers handed the Knicks their worst home loss of the season, a 119-101 drubbing on Tuesday.

Delonte West added 16 points for Cleveland, which never trailed and shot 52 percent (48-of-91). Wally Szczerbiak chipped in 15 for the Cavaliers, who are off to their best start since the 1988-89 season.

The Knicks cleared more than $27 million in salary cap space by making a pair of trades on Friday in hopes of luring James to the "Mecca of basketball" when he is a free agent in the summer of 2010.

James' future is a hot topic in the media, but he said that is not so in the locker room.

"They don't get caught up in that and I don't either," James said about the speculation. "We hear it every night. We see it every day on TV about 2010 all the time.

"We still go out and take care of business. We don't worry about what's going on. Me, the leader, I can't let that phase me because I'm leading these guys on to something that we want to accomplish and that's winning an NBA championship."

James' teammates care of business early in this one - mostly while he watched from the bench.

After opening a 12-point lead after the first quarter, the Cavaliers scored the first eight points of the second quarter and outscored the Knicks, 21-9, while James took a break.

"We just came out and played," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "Tonight was the next ballgame for us. That's all we were worried about. We just came out and played the way we're capable of playing."

Knicks fans did not get to see James exert much energy, as he watched the final period from the bench.

James scored 50 in his last visit here in early March, but the only time he had to show any signs of taking over was in the third. The Knicks opened the quarter with a 10-2 run and were within 69-48 following a jumper by Quentin Richardson.

James rattled off 11 points in the final eight-plus minutes, highlighted by a dunk with 4:10 remaining and a long three-pointer with 1.8 seconds left that put Cleveland in front 95-66 through three periods.

"It's tough when you play one of the top 10 teams in the NBA and probably the best player along with Kobe," New York's David Lee said. "Coming in here there was a lot of hype so our mistakes were highlighted because of that."

Richardson scored 22 points for the Knicks, who acquired Tim Thomas and Al Harrington from the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors respectively in the aforementioned trades.

Thomas had 16 points and Harrington had 13 points in his debut.

Richardson said the Knicks are unfazed by the "LeBron-to-New York" hype machine.

"We just look at it as the Cleveland Cavs are coming to town and we just have to get a win," Richardson said.

"Of course, everyone knows it is no secret. They have LeBron James and whole summer of 2010 thing, but I don't think LeBron looks at it that way and I know we don't."

"I don't know if it's going to happen," James said. "I'm so focused on this season and what we have at task with the Cavs, it's hard for me to even think about that date, but at the same time you have to stay open-minded if you're a Knicks fan."

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