Cavaliers rout Knicks at MSG

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) passes to a teammate in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert (4) backs up the play. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK (AP) — LeBron James scored 25 points, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love also surpassed 20, and the Cleveland Cavaliers crushed the New York Knicks 126-94 on Wednesday night.

James had nothing to say Wednesday morning about Knicks President Phil Jackson and not much more about his decision to not stay with the team in a Donald Trump-branded hotel, but he and the Cavs made a loud statement at Madison Square Garden.

It was their second straight win after a three-game skid, and they did it easily in handing the Knicks their worst loss of the season. Irving led Cleveland with 28 points and Love scored 21, 16 in the first quarter.

Brandon Jennings scored 16 points for the Knicks, who had their four-game winning streak snapped and lost for the just the third time in 10 games. He started for Derrick Rose, who missed his first game of the season with lower back pain.

Tristan Thompson grabbed 20 rebounds for the Cavs. They played without guard J.R. Smith, who returned to Cleveland for additional testing after hyperextending his left knee Monday in Toronto.

It was the first meeting since James was angered when Jackson referred to his friends and business partners as a “posse” last month in an ESPN interview. James refused to answer questions at the Cavs’ shootaround about Jackson, who watched the game from his usual seat a few rows back of center court.

Love and Irving made consecutive 3-pointers to kick off a 20-4 spurt that extended a one-point lead to 34-17 and the Knicks never really recovered. They trimmed it to nine late in the first half, but James had a ferocious dunk during the Cavs’ run of six straight points, and another burst to open the second half pushed it to 71-48 on Irving’s 3-pointer.

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