J.R. Smith contributed 17 points for Cleveland while James and reserve Iman Shumpert each made a game-high six assists as the Cavaliers improved to 35-22 with the afternoon victory at Madison Square Garden.
The performance by James, on 7-of-17 shooting from the floor, boosted him to 24,383 career points, moving James ahead of former Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson (24,368) into 22nd place on the all-time NBA scoring list.
James also needs only five more assists to have the most by any forward in an NBA career.
Smith and Shumpert were playing their first game against the Knicks since New York traded the pair to Cleveland last month in a three-team deal.
With 16 triumphs in their past 18 games, the Cavaliers are only one loss behind Central division leader Chicago.
Langston Galloway’s 13 points led six double-digit scorers for the Knicks, who fell to 10-45 with their seventh loss in a row and fourth consecutive home defeat.
New York has lost top scorer Carmelo Anthony for the remainder of the season after knee surgery, his absence dimming what fans hoped earlier in the season would be a showdown with four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James.
Instead, the Knicks fell to 0-15 this season when Anthony does not play.
James passed Iverson on a layup 90 seconds into the game on his way to scoring 12 points in the first quarter, in which Cleveland led by as much as 19 points. The Cavaliers stretched the margin as large as 30 in the fourth quarter when Shumpert set up smith on an alley-oop reverse slam dunk.
Alexey Shved grabbed a rebound and missed a 3-point shot in his first 3:24 of the season just three days after the Knicks obtained him in a deal with Houston. He helped spark a Russian 2012 Olympic team guided by Cleveland coach David Blatt to bronze at the London Games. – Agence France-Presse