The New York Knicks had an unfamiliar face in the starting lineup for their game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Amar'e Stoudemire returned from his back injury and played for the first time in 13 games.
To open the game, the Knicks struggled scoring the ball and the defense was at best, mediocre. The players weren't putting a lot of pressure on the Cavs and that allowed the opponent to get some easy shots near the basket.
As for Stoudemire, he got to the line twice early on, but missed three of his four free throws. Carmelo Anthony continued with his solid play and it did not seem like he was changing his demeanor even though Stoudemire was in the lineup.
However, the Knicks did not play well overall and their first quarter performance was quite disappointing. After 12 minutes of play, the Knicks were down 20-25. Carmelo Anthony scored six points in the first quarter and Stoudemire had one point and two fouls in five minutes of play.
The Knicks continued to struggle in the second quarter and their offense was stagnant. The ball was not moving very well and when the players did get open looks, they were not knocking down shots.
New York did make a nice push towards the end of the first half, and it was a result of Anthony being more aggressive. When he attacked the basket and was the centerpiece of the offense, the Knicks improved.
Through two quarters, the Knicks faced a 34-45 deficit. Anthony led the Knicks with 11 points and Stoudemire put in five points; however, as a team the Knicks shot 31 percent from the field.
The third quarter did not go very well for the Knicks and the Cavaliers continued on their onslaught. Nothing was clicking for New York and it was having trouble trying to stay with the opponent. The Knicks were held to just 22 points in the third quarter and ended the period down 56-72.
In the fourth quarter, the Knicks could not muster enough to complete the comeback. The Cavaliers gained too much confidence and everything was going their way. The home crowd was behind the Cavs and the Knicks could not overcome the large deficit.
New York did have opportunities for the lead down the stretch, but its costly turnovers ruined its chances. A bad pass by Toney Douglas and an ill-advised foul by J.R. Smith closed any chances of a Knicks comeback.
In Stoudemire's first game back, the Knicks fell to the Cavaliers, 98-90. Stoudemire had 15 points and three rebounds in 27 minutes of play. As for Anthony, he put in 12 points on 5-13 shooting.