CLEVELAND • First he tore open his shirt, then LeBron James tore open the game.
James scored 23 points and grabbed five rebounds but, more importantly, he took over the fourth quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers' 96-86 win over the New York Knicks in a National Basketball Association league game on Wednesday.
Frustrated by his play and his tough shooting night, James tore open the sleeves on his jersey in the midst of a 4-of-11 shooting half.
It was not his first battle with the sleeved look.
He openly complained about them in March last year when he first wore them with the Miami Heat.
This time, however, he took the blame for his tough night.
"I was just frustrated with myself a lot," he said.
"I was just off rhythm a lot. The jersey was the only thing I could go to."
James did not shoot the ball any better in the second half but took over the game in the fourth quarter.
Mo Williams scored 22 points while Kevin Love contributed 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Tristan Thompson had 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Cavs.
Forward Carmelo Anthony scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis came up with 13 points for the visiting Knicks.
James scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, including six straight. His three-pointer with four minutes left - just his second of the season - extended the Cavs' lead to 87-79.
He was 1 of 16 on three pointers this year before that basket.
The Knicks shot 62 per cent in the first quarter and led 32-18 entering the second but could not pull away. They shot 32 per cent and managed just 54 points over the final three quarters.
At one point in the third quarter, the Cavs were shooting 12 per cent on three-pointers and 50 per cent on free throws, yet the Knicks' lead was only six points.
"We just don't understand quite yet how to win collectively as a group," Knicks coach Derek Fisher said. "Playing from behind on the road after getting off to a good start, we weren't able to compete."
In Oakland, Stephen Curry hit his seventh three-pointer with 1:08 remaining to produce the 17th and final lead change of the night, as the Golden State Warriors outlasted the Los Angeles Clippers 112-108 in a battle of the West's last two unbeaten teams.