With their 10-game losing streak now over, the New York Knicks shift their focus to their next task: winning back-to-back games for the first time all season.
The Knicks attempt to reach that modest accomplishment when they visit the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
New York registered its first win since Nov. 18 when it notched a 124-122 overtime victory over the host Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. The triumph came in interim coach Mike Miller’s third game on the job after replacing the fired David Fizdale.
It wasn’t easy, however, as a 21-point second-quarter lead evaporated before the Knicks were able to outlast Golden State.
“We had to bounce back again and again and again,” Miller told reporters afterward. “(The Warriors) continued to make plays, continued to stretch the game out. We had a lot of guys contribute and play well.”
Playing the best was forward Marcus Morris, who scored a season-best 36 points — one shy of his career high — with five 3-pointers and 10 rebounds.
Morris is averaging a career-best 19 points per game and is also shooting a stellar 48.9 percent from 3-point range, well above his career mark of 36.8.
Morris was signed as a free agent in the offseason, and there is already speculation that he may soon be headed out of town.
But Morris says he has no interest in being traded.
“I’m going to keep saying like I said in the beginning. I love being in New York,” Morris told reporters. “Win, lose or draw, I’m here to try to help turn this thing around. You know, I’m not really looking to get traded. That’s just my personal opinion. That’s my approach. But this is the NBA.”
Morris had a strong game against Sacramento earlier this season, when he scored 28 points in a 113-92 home loss on Nov. 3. He was 9 of 14 from the field, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range.
The Kings are looking to extend their season-long winning streak to four, and the last two triumphs have come in dramatic fashion.
Forward Nemanja Bjelica knocked down the winning 3-pointer as time expired in Monday’s 119-118 road victory over the Houston Rockets, and Bogdan Bogdanovic drained the winning trey with 13.4 seconds left in Wednesday’s 94-93 victory over the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder.
“When you trust the guys you have on the court, sometimes at the end you have to sit back and let them do what they do,” Sacramento coach Luke Walton said after the win over the Thunder. “I enjoy those moments.”
The Kings welcomed second-year forward Marvin Bagley III back on Wednesday and he had 11 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.
Bagley fractured his right thumb in the season opener against the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 23 and missed 22 games prior to stepping on the floor against Oklahoma City.
“I just try to come out and play and come out and do what I normally do and let the game come to me,” Bagley, the No. 2 overall pick in 2018, said during a postgame television interview. “We won the game. That was the No. 1 goal I had coming back, just to win.”
Shooting guard Buddy Hield scored a team-high 23 points against the Thunder for his ninth straight 20-point effort. Hield is averaging 25.7 points during the stretch and has made 42 3-pointers, including a career-best 11 against the Boston Celtics on Nov. 25 when he also established his career high of 41 points.
Hield scored 22 points and made five 3-pointers in last month’s win over New York.
–Field Level Media