Charlie Ward added 12 points off the bench for New York, which never trailed as it won for the first time since a season-opening home victory over Washington on Oct. 30. All three losses were on the road.
Andre Miller scored 15 points and Lamond Murray added 12 and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers (1-5), who have lost three straight games.
Former NBA great Magic Johnson was courtside. Exactly 10 years ago, the part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and future Hall of Famer stunned the sports world by announcing he had tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The Knicks scored the first eight points of the second half to extend their lead to 47-34. After Cleveland responded with eight straight points, former Cav Clarence Weatherspoon and Mark Jackson led a 12-0 surge to give the Knicks a 59-42 cushion with 2:04 remaining.
Neither team scored for the first 2:15 and a sloppily played first quarter ended with the Knicks holding a 19-14 lead. The Cavs committed 10 turnovers in the period.
Miller was held in check for most of the first half. He scored his first bucket with less than five minutes to go in the second quarter and Cleveland trailed 39-34 at halftime.