Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Knicks Can Cavs; Pacers Top Hawks

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Knicks Can Cavs; Pacers Top Hawks

Article excerpt

The New York Knicks, after losing the seventh game of the National Basketball Association finals last year, started the 1995 playoffs looking like a team determined to earn another chance at a championship.

The Knicks never trailed in their playoff opener against Cleveland on Thursday night. Their starters dominated the Cavaliers' starters, outscoring them 77-29 on the way to a 103-79 victory in their Eastern Conference series.

New York's starting lineup was 35 for 53 from the field; Cleveland's was 10 for 27.

"We fell short last year in the finals, so we want to get back and get the prize," said Patrick Ewing, who scored 21 points on 10-for-16 shooting. "We played tremendous defense, and we played big on the boards. It was a team effort."

The Cavs, who scored the fewest points and gave up the fewest in the NBA's last 40 years, stayed in the game for one period. The Knicks took control with 15-0 and 18-2 spurts in the second and third quarters.

Cleveland missed 26 of 37 shots in those two periods. In the third quarter, when the Knicks left no doubt of the outcome, New York was 13 for 16 from the field and Cleveland six for 19.

"We made a run to make it close at halftime, but instead of chipping away at them, it went the other way in the third quarter," Cleveland coach Mike Fratello said. "We had our share of mental mistakes and physical turnovers, so it was a nice blend on our part."

Charles Oakley had 19 points on nine-for-12 shooting, Derek Harper 16 on seven-for-eight shooting and Charles Smith 14 points for the Knicks. New York's 95.1 points allowed per game in the regular season was a distant second in the NBA to Cleveland's defensive average of 89.8.

But the Cavs' biggest concern has to be at the offensive end, where they managed an average of just 90.5 points.

Reserves Danny Ferry and Tony Campbell were the only Cleveland players in double figures with 20 and 13 points, respectively. …

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