The Knicks are not the worst team in the NBA.
The squads with the NBA’s two worst records — the Knicks and Warriors — battled into overtime Wednesday and the least-sickly club turned out to be the Knicks, who survived by the skin of their teeth.
With Marcus Morris exploding for 36 points, the Knicks broke their 10-game losing streak and escaped the NBA cellar with a 124-122 OT victory against what’s left of Golden State.
In the Knicks’ first game at the Warriors’ new palace, Chase Center, Mike Miller got his first NBA head-coaching win and moved to 1-2 as interim after his club built a 22-point first-half lead and blew all of it.
“We’ve been talking about this group as being a character group, they are deserving,” Miller said. “We had to bounce back again and again. It’s fun basketball to watch.”
Morris rescued the Knicks as he has in almost all their wins, and gave the honor of the league’s worst record to the Warriors (5-21), who have gone from dynasty to a disgrace in one season. The Knicks (5-20) played a poor second half after jumping to that 22-point lead late in the second quarter but responded in overtime.
“Marcus willed us through that game,” Miller said. “He made so many big plays. Everybody knew we had to keep getting the ball to him.’’
Morris finished 10 of 18 from the field — 5 of 9 from 3.
“We definitely needed it a lot,” Morris said.
Barrett broke out of his recent slump to score 22, adding 10 rebounds for a double-double, but missed a key free throw with 7.7 seconds left in regulation, keeping the lead at three points and costing the Knicks a regulation win.
Ex-Net D’Angelo Russell, who led the comeback, took the inbounds pass and rattled home a 3-pointer from the right corner over center Mitchell Robinson with 3.9 seconds left to send the game to overtime tied at 112. Miller said Robinson was cautious about not fouling.
“I like how we fought through everything,” Barrett said. “They took the lead. We didn’t hang our heads.”
The Knicks scored nine of the first 11 points of overtime, starting with a Julius Randle 3.
Randle finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds and Elfrid Payton, who played a solid overtime, added 14 points, five assists and four rebounds.
“A win feels good,’’ Randle said. “You could’ve lost 10 in a row or win 10 in a row. A win is always good and hopefully we can keep tasting this. We just stuck together. We could have folded.’’
Russell finished with 32 points – his fifth 30-plus game of the season – but fell short of being a hero. “He’s lengthy – I was just trying to be as crafty as I can,’’ Russell said.
The Warriors missed their first five shots, fell behind 6-0 and shot 33.3 percent in the opening half. They are unrecognizable from the club that went to five straight NBA Finals — with Steve Kerr the prime example of a coach sometimes being only as good as his roster.
But Kerr is enjoying the change of pace, according to a person close to the coach.
“I think the point of this season, for us, is to develop our young players,’’ Kerr said. “We have a lot of interesting prospects and we are trying to teach them every day.’’
The Knicks continue their West Coast trip in Sacramento Friday and have yet to win two straight this season.
“We definitely needed it,’’ Morris said.