Finally, after five overtime minutes and after multiple Cavaliers played the hero’s role, the Cavs are back in the win column.
They topped the Knicks 109-102 Saturday night as the Cavaliers scored the final points in regulation and never trailed in the overtime session. Mo Williams led the way with 23, including the driving layup to send it to overtime, and 14 assists. Anderson Varejao had 14 points and 17 rebounds, and Antawn Jamison finished with 21 points and 9 rebounds.
All three were instrumental in putting the game away. A Jamison jumpshot put the Cavs up 103-97 with just over a minute to go in overtime. Jamison saved a ball from going out of bounds on the ensuing possession, flipping it to Varejao, then Williams delivered the dagger with a jumpshot to make it 105-97 with 29.6 seconds left.
It looked for much of the second half like the Cavs would be able to put their miserable 10-game losing streak to bed, but it certainly wasn’t easy. And though there were signs, like more strong play from Williams, unexpected contributions from Jamario Moon and the Cavaliers sticking 3-pointers, coming up with loose ballsand keeping the high-flying Knicks at bay, it certainly wasn’t put away until the final seconds of overtime.
The Cavs shot 18-of-48 (38 percent) in the first half and trailed by 3 at halftime. They grabbed the lead early in the third, then watched the Knicks answer with a 9-0 run. The Knicks score on everybody, but the Cavs held them to 41 points over the third and fourth quarters. After Williams scored to tie with 3.7 seconds left, Amare’ Stoudemire missed a fadeaway 10-footer at the end of regulation.
Stoudemire had 23 points and 11 rebounds, but he didn’t win his individual battle with Varejao. Stoudemire was whistled for 3 offensive fouls and committed 8 turnovers.
The Cavs (8-19) hadn’t won since Nov. 27. The Knicks (16-12) entered the week as the league’s hottest team before dropping a heartbreaker to Boston Wednesday night and getting blown out by the Heat Friday.