On one of the most memorable nights in Cleveland sports history, LeBron James recorded his first ever opening night triple-double in a 117-88 Cavaliers destruction of the New York Knicks.
James and Co. enjoyed a festive celebration prior to the game, earning their massive rings and raising their championship banner to the rafters of Quicken Loans Arena. Then James controlled the play on the court by recording 19 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds.
The reigning Finals MVP also rattled the rim with a host of thunderous dunks:
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) October 26, 2016
Fellow Finals hero Kyrie Irving got in on the fun, leading the Cavaliers in scoring with 29 points on 12-of-22 shooting after a slow start. Irving did most of his damage in a brilliant third quarter, pouring in 19 points on a dazzling array of moves and matching the Knicks’ point total in the quarter in the process.
Kevin Love also put forth a strong performance by recording 23 points and 12 rebounds. Love only shot 6-of-15 from the field thanks to missing some open looks, but he went 9-of-12 from the line to make up for that. Richard Jefferson added 13 points off the bench.
Speaking of those massive championship rings:
Photos: Cleveland Cavaliers' 2016 NBA championship rings (by Kay Jewelers: 6.5 carat, 400 diamonds, set in 10K white gold & 14K yellow gold) pic.twitter.com/IrFCjPNGMU
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 25, 2016
About the only negative on the night for the Cavaliers was Iman Shumpert leaving the game with concussion-like symptoms.
As for the Knicks, they got off to a poor start and were in danger of getting blown out of the building in the first half before reeling the Cavaliers in to trail by only three at halftime. But things quickly fell off the rails in the Irving-dominated third quarter.
Carmelo Anthony had 19 points on 8-of-18 shooting to lead New York, while new Knick Derrick Rose had 17 points on 7-of-17 shooting. Both players had four turnovers, and the Knicks’ offense never got into a rhythm. New York shot under 37 percent.