CLEVELAND, Ohio (CBSNewYork/AP) — Whether you accuse New York of “tanking” to elevate their draft position or think they’re just not that good, one thing is certain – Knicks fans are officially seeing the worst basketball in franchise history.
Collin Sexton scored 20 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers held off a late rally and sent New York to their franchise-record 17th straight loss, 107-104 on Monday night.
Sexton hit two free throws with 17 seconds remaining to put Cleveland up by three. John Jenkins missed a 3-pointer from the right corner, but Dennis Smith Jr. grabbed the rebound and dribbled to the corner. He also missed a 3-pointer and Larry Nance tapped the rebound to midcourt as time ran out.
Nance and Jordan Clarkson each scored 15 points. Kevin Love had 14 points and nine rebounds in his second game since returning from foot surgery. The All-Star forward played 16 minutes, all in the first half. Love was 4 of 10 from the field, including two 3-pointers, and had nine rebounds.
Kadeem Allen scored a career-high 25 points for the Knicks. New York (10-46) has the worst record in the league, and has lost 25 of 26 and 30 of its last 32 games.
The Knicks trailed 71-54 early in the third quarter. New York got within four points several times and back-to-back 3-pointers by Luke Kornett cut the lead to 105-104 with 51 seconds left.
Kornett missed a wide-open 3-pointer with 21 seconds remaining that would have put New York on top. Sexton followed with his two free throws
Kevin Knox scored 13 points while DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 10 rebounds for New York.
Both teams are in the running for a prime spot in the draft lottery, which takes place May 14. The three worst teams in the league will have a 14 percent chance of getting the first pick in the draft and a shot at grabbing top draft prospect Zion Williamson of Duke.
Phoenix (11-47) and Chicago, which was 13-43 going into Monday, are also possibilities for a top three pick.
The Cavaliers led wire-to-wire and jumped to an 8-0 lead, leading Knicks coach David Fizdale to use a timeout less than 90 seconds into the game.
The Knicks, who traded injured star Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas on Jan. 31, have their longest skid within one season. New York lost 20 in a row over two seasons, March 23-Nov. 9, 1985.
Love played Friday against Washington after missing 50 games because of surgery on his left foot. He scored four points in six first-quarter minutes.
THAT’S A LONG STREAK:
The Knicks’ loss gives them the 34th losing streak of at least 17 games in NBA history and the longest skid since the Memphis Grizzlies dropped 19 in a row last season.
New York hasn’t won since a 119-112 victory over the Lakers on Jan. 4. The team is now 1-18 since the calendar turned to 2019.
Jenkins was signed to a 10-day contract by the Knicks earlier in the day. He scored seven points in nine minutes. G Emmanuel Mudiay (strained left shoulder) and G Frank Ntilikina (sore groin) remain out.
The Knicks host Philadelphia on Wednesday.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)