Cavs win 8th straight, their best start in 39 years

NEW YORK • The Cleveland Cavaliers are off to their best National Basketball Association start in 39 years after coming from behind on Friday to beat the New York Knicks for the second time in nine days.

LeBron James and Mo Williams ignited the fourth-quarter rally, combining for 21 of Cleveland's 24 points in a 90-84 victory at Madison Square Garden.

The Cavaliers won their eighth straight game, a stretch that includes a 96-86 home win on Nov 4 after coming back from a 15-point deficit against the same Knicks.

James also had a spectacular fourth quarter in that one, and Cleveland are now 8-1 to start the year for the first time since the 1976-77 NBA season.

The same cannot be said for Knicks' forward Carmelo Anthony, who had a team-high 26 points but scored only four in the second half.

Coming into the contest, Anthony was shooting 31.7 per cent in the fourth quarter compared to 51.2 per cent for James.

"It is great to have guys who can help you close out games," James said.

"I thought everyone did a great job, especially Mo (Williams), who came through with a timely shot and free throws at the end."

Cleveland trailed by six points with 5min 24sec to go before James and Williams seized the moment.

James scored six straight points to give Cleveland an 84-82 lead with 76 seconds to play.

Williams' jumper put the Cavaliers 86-84 ahead with 40 seconds left and his four free throws in the final 18 seconds sealed the victory.

James finished with 31 points and Williams scored 20.

"We had to make a decision on who we wanted to go down there in the end," Cleveland coach David Blatt said.

"Naturally, with LeBron (James) and his capability of making big plays, we went to him and he used the looks that the defence showed him to make plays for himself and Mo (Williams), who made a couple of big shots and big plays for us."

At the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Russell Westbrook produced his second triple-double of the season with 21 points, a career-high 17 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 102-85 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Philadelphia remain winless at 0-9.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 15, 2015, with the headline 'Cavs win 8th straight, their best start in 39 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe