CLEVELAND – After an exciting 139-134 victory over the Cavaliers when Marcus Morris pulled the clutch out again, the Knicks will enter into the trading period on Thursday.
The Knicks got out of the race after a 10-point hole with a 5:17 point lead and then took the lead with a late three-point lead before heading for 2-0 in extra time.
The Knicks-Storm combination of Morris and Julius Randle, as they had done two weeks ago in a Cavs escape group, came out big and hit late for extra time. The Knicks switched to 15-36 and interim coach Mike Miller to 11-18.
After shaking off a stomach virus that prevented him from participating in the morning shootout, Morris, who was bought, ended up with 26 points and struck two late daggers.
Randle scored for 20 points and collected the rebound by eight seconds. Morris also scored Saturday's victory in Indiana in the last three minutes with eight points.
"I did extra work and put myself in these situations and the coach put me in great situations," said Morris of his increasing status as a closer.
Their last pre-trade game made General Manager Scott Perry think a lot when it came to blowing up this squad, especially when it came to trading with Morris.
Back from his drawdown, start point keeper Eflrid Payton added a triple double to the Knicks' efforts, scoring 17 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds in 33 minutes.
"He was very aggressive and made really good decisions," said Miller.
But the big baskets came late from Randle and Morris. Randle achieved a nice spin in the transition phase for a 133-132 lead with 1:19 in extra time. Morris gave the Knicks a 135-134 lead with an 18 foot 55 seconds. Then he almost froze it with an 18-foot left with 13 seconds, put the 137-134.
"He's the guy who's always ready to play," said Miller.
The Knicks let the Cavaliers score 37 points in the first quarter on Monday. That happened two days after the Knicks in Indiana made a season low of 11 points in the first quarter against a much better team.
That's 26 points more than on Saturday thanks to a glowing Kevin Love in his last game in a Cavs uniform. Love, which collected 17 points in the first quarter and a total of 33 points, will be purchased before the trading deadline.
"You did everything," said Miller. “It was completely the opposite of the game we were playing in [92-85 versus the Pacers], This is one of the reasons why I feel good when I win in a different way. "