Found Another Way to Win — Feb 3, 2020: NY 139 Cleveland 134 OT

No matter what the Knicks did, Cleveland kept taking the lead. The Cavaliers were RED HOT from outside and Kevin Love was having his best game of the year. But the Knicks battled back, and found another way to win — in overtime, with Marcus Morris hitting CLUTCH SHOT after CLUTCH SHOT at the end and in overtime.

“They made everything. If we made any kind of mistake and left any kind of separation, they dinged us on it”, said coach Mike Miller afterwards about the Cavaliers. “Every time we gave them a little bit of space they were making shots; Love made some TOUGH 3’s”. But, Miller added, “One of the reasons I feel good about it is because we had to try to find a way to win a game another way.”

Inside Outside

From the start, and all game long, the Knicks got their points inside, Cleveland got their points outside. The Knick point guards penetrated, and scored or fed Knick bigs like Julius Randle inside. But Cleveland would come back and hit an outside shot.

All Knick point guards were terrific — Elfrid Payton had 17 pts (8-17 shooting), 11 rebounds and 15 assists. He penetrated, and orchestrated.

Dennis Smith Jr came off the bench was again impressive — his DEFENSE (he had 4 steals) and his ability to penetrate the lane, opening up the offense. Smith finished with 15 points and 6 assists on 6-11 shooting in 20 minutes.

And Frank Ntilikina did well — back from the groin injury he had 9 pts on 4-7 shooting, 7 rebounds and hit some big shots late.

Cleveland Looked Like Winners with 5 Minutes Left

This game looked OVER when Cleveland took a 118-108 lead with just over 5 minutes left in regulation. Kevin Love blocked a shot by Elfrid Payton in the lane, dove for the loose ball, fed Cedi Osman, who sent it back the other way and hit Kevin Porter Jr with a pass for an alley oop SLAM and it was 10 straight points for Cleveland and the 10-pt lead. But the Knicks buckled down again — Marcus Morris hit a 16 footer, then a 12 footer, then went to the line for free throws, then later hit a 3 to tie the game at 120 with just under 3 minutes left. Elfrid Payton hit Julius Randle with a splendid pass for a dunk and the Knicks were up 122-120. Ntilikina hit a big 3 to give the Knicks a 125-122 lead. Collin Sexton hit a 3 with 30 seconds left to tie it. Morris’ jumper at the buzzer rimmed out.


In Overtime, Cleveland again kept hitting shots and took the lead, but the Knicks battled back. It was Morris again hitting big shots in the final minute to give the Knicks the win — a 16-foot corner jumper to give NY a 135-134 lead, then — after Bobby Portis forced Larry Nance Jr into a bad shot — Morris hit a huge 18 footer off the elbow right side for a 137-134 lead. Darius Garland missed a 3 (his foot was actually on the line so it would’ve been a 2) and that was ballgame.

Great Performances Up and Down Boxscore

The Knicks had excellent performances up and down the boxscore. Kevin Knox had his best game of the season, according to coach Miller. His Defense was good and he shot 5-8 (2-4 from 3) for 12 pts in 17 minutes. Bobby Portis played good D and put up almost identical numbers — 5-8 (2-5 from 3) for 12 pts in 28 minutes.

Mitchell Robinson was 2-2 from the floor to increase his league-leading field goal percentage; 3 fouls; 4 pts but a +9. Robinson only got 15 minutes as Portis ate up some of his minutes because he was playing so well on offense and defense. Damyean Dotson (3-6, 9 pts) shot well; Reggie Bullock (3-6 7 pts) shot well; Taj Gibson (4-6, 8 pts) shot well. Everybody shot well, up and down the boxscore.

The Boxscore


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