LeBron James set the tone for the Cleveland Cavaliers' NBA championship defence as his triple double helped rout the New York Knicks at The Quicken Loans Arena.
New York Knicks 88-117 Cleveland Cavaliers
Kyrie Irving meanwhile pitched in with 29 points and Kevin Love added 23 as the big three played an integral part in brushing off a new-look Knicks, with major signing Derrick Rose opening his account with 17 points.
Prior to tip-off for the new season, the champions received their rings and had a first title banner raised into the rafters of the arena, with an emotional outpour visible as things once again flooded in from the magical comeback of June. They may have been sloppy on a handful of occasions to start the first quarter, but soon would sustain focus to run away with the game.
|Image: Sports Illustrated|
Continuing to look like a man on a mission, the rim was once again rattled with a thunderous one-handed jam by LeBron in the second quarter, before he then met an alley-oop set up by Irving. But in the second quarter, the Knicks crucially were able to thwart some of the momentum thanks to Rose and Anthony getting control, exploiting Shumpert in the backcourt. After two quarters, Cleveland were up 48-45.
Things wouldn't all be plain sailing in the final 12 of the game, as Iman Shumpert was withdrawn for the rest of the encounter for showing concussion-like symptoms. Athlete safety first, but it will come as a headache (no pun intended) for the championship winning coach Tyronn Lue. A tenth rebound with 6:44 left of the game rounded off a pleasant stat for LeBron with his 43rd career triple double to soften the blow, and he soon took to the bench to a standing ovation with a job very well done for their opener.
Some exhibition basketball to close things off with the result decided early in the fourth quarter helped Cavaliers just sharpen the statement, while the Knicks were disjointed - somewhat expected with so many new components for their first game.
Final from The Land: @cavs get past #Knicks 117-88 behind 29 points from Kyrie. D-Rose drops 17 in his NYK debut. pic.twitter.com/3sNYmHRs2d— NBA (@NBA) October 26, 2016