CLEVELAND -- Thursday night started off as a celebration of LeBron James.
The King was back in Cleveland.
But by the time the night was over, the only people who were in the mood to party were the 15 guys in the visiting locker room after the Knicks' surprising 95-90 win Thursday night.
“We came in and spoiled the excitement,” said Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire said. “Great for us.”
The Knicks registered the biggest stunner of the young NBA season, doing so thanks, in part, to their defense on James.
James missed 10 of his 15 shots and turned it over eight times as the Knicks kept him out of the paint and took away his transition opportunities.
“I was just out of rhythm,” James said. “I think some of my turnovers were careless, some were chemistry.”
And maybe some were due to the enormity of the moment. But the Knicks also deserve some credit.
“I thought we did a great job kind of containing him," Anthony said.
The numbers bear that out.
James was 3-for-4 in transition, but shot just 2-for-11 in the half-court offense, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
He also shot 1-for-9 from outside the paint.
Shumpert guarded James for long stretches in the fourth quarter with great success. On the six plays he defended a possession that ended in a James action, he limited the four-time MVP to 0-for-2 shooting and four turnovers.
“Great players like LeBron, you don’t necessarily stop or take out of the game,” Fisher said. “I think this team the Cavaliers, they’re still trying to find out who they are and how they’re going to play the game."
The same can be said of the Knicks. But they showed what Anthony called "mental toughness" by coming into Cleveland and stealing a game a night after they were embarrassed by the Bulls in both teams' season opener.
Said Anthony: "We did a great job of putting that game behind us."
They also did a great job of keeping James in front of them. And that, more than anything else, made the difference Thursday night.
Question: What did you think of the Knicks' defense of LeBron James?
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