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Cavaliers 115, Knicks 109: Offense Sputters, Defense Falters In Second Loss To Cleveland

Adrenaline and the support of a raucous home crowd helped the New York Knicks earn a win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups's Knick debut. In game two, things fell apart. On the road and with some of the buzz gone, Anthony, Billups, and Amar'e Stoudemire each thrived at different times, but couldn't mesh to run a competent Knick offense. New York shot 41 percent from the field as a team, mostly as a result of isolation and forced attempts over multiple defenders. It will take time for these offensive stars to align, and tonight's events were a painful reminder of that.

Meanwhile, New York's defense and rebounding were as awful as usual. Repeatedly a step slow, the Knick defense resorted to fouling and allowed the Cavs to shoot 31-44 from the line. Even when they were able to contest shots, they allowed Cleveland to clean up after themselves. Their 19 offensive rebounds, including several in the game's final minutes, prevented New York from erasing a double-digit deficit.

Thee Cavs-- Antawn Jamison, Ramon Sessions, and Anthony Parker-- broke the twenty-point mark. Stoudemire, Billups, and Anthony each did the same, but got little help from their supporting cast.

There will be growing pains for these new-look Knicks. Fans hope tonight's loss will be by far the most painful.