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LeBron aims to be the anti-Kobe

You can kind of see why Shaquille O'Neal fits so well here in Cleveland with LeBron James. They both have a distaste for Kobe Bryant's game.

Actually, it is somewhat ironic that Shaq would try to convince LeBron to keep firing tonight against the Knicks after he scored a franchise-record 35 points in the first half. Shaq's biggest issues with Kobe -- which Pau Gasol is now apparently dealing with -- often involved shot volume and, of course, shot quality.

Which is why LeBron's response to why he didn't try to go for a 60-point game -- as Shaq suggested -- seemed like a not-so-subtle dig at Kobe.

"I can't, my game won't let me," James said. "I could go out there and take shots and take shots and continue to make them. Most of the shots I took tonight were against one-on-one defense. As soon as the double-team comes, I give the ball up. As soon as I see somebody open, I give the ball up."

He finished with eight assists, but only two were recorded in the second half.

* * *

* - James didn't speak much about the Knicks, other than this observation: "They have some really good players, they have some really good shooters. When they're not shooting the ball extremely well, they're not very good because they don't get to the paint." It's interesting he would say that, because the Knicks actually scored as many points in the paint (44) as the Cavaliers in this game.  They took five more threes (27-22) and made 12 to 11 by the Cavs (six by LeBron).

* - The Knicks have lost seven straight to the Cavaliers, with their last win Dec. 19, 2007 at the Garden. The teams play again March 1 back here in Cleveland. Will it be the last time the Knicks have to play against LeBron?

* - Mike D'Antoni seemed ready to pull the plug on the decision to start Nate Robinson at the one in place of Chris Duhon. Actually, D'Antoni used Duhon and Robinson as a backcourt during the second-half comeback attempt and liked what he saw.

* - David Lee had 20 points and eight rebounds, but remained on the bench for the entire fourth quarter. He had a team-high five turnovers in the game, but then again, so did LeBron.

* - Jordan Hill got Lee's minutes in the fourth and was very active on defense and scored eight points on 4 of 5 shooting. But in 18:35 he didn't grab a single rebound, which is hard to believe. Even harder is the fact that Shaq had just one rebound to his credit in 25:36.

* - Eddy Curry was a curious addition to the entourage that traveled with the Knicks for this short trip. Curry is still weeks away from returning to action after undergoing knee surgery on Jan. 18, but he intends to get back out there before the season ends. "I'm hoping to come back," he said. "Even if I come back, the odds are I'm not going to play. But for my own sanity, I would like to come back." Despite his bleak outlook for his future with the Knicks, Curry said he has no intention of exercising the opt-out clause in his contract to make him a free agent this summer. He won't leave $11.2M on the table and perhaps the Knicks can move him as an expiring contract. Curry will be playing for a new contract next season and obviously has no interest in riding the bench another year.


New York Sports