CLEVELAND (AP)—The Cleveland Cavaliers can’t count on winning the NBA lottery, but at least one number came up for them.
Cleveland trailed by 15 points midway through the fourth quarter before going on a 21-6 run to tie it as the Knicks went stone cold from the field.
With the comeback, the Cavs (16-64) avoided having the worst single-season record in team history. Cleveland won only 15 games in 1970-71—its inaugural season—and again in 1981-82.
The Cavs may still be the NBA’s worst team, but at least they’re not Cleveland’s.
“It’s real important to get the 16th win,” Davis said. “We didn’t want to have our names be a part of history in a bad way. It shows that guys are still working hard and eager to win.”
Kurt Thomas had 23 points and Shandon Anderson a season-high 21 for New York, which missed 13 straight shots and went without a basket for 11:06 before Thomas hit a 12-footer with 33 seconds left in OT.
By then, the Cavs were up 100-92 and they closed out one of their few thrilling home wins this season.
Davis is still seeking that elusive first career triple-double.
Earlier this season, he was one rebound short against Utah when he intentionally missed a shot at the Jazz basket, hoping to get his 10th rebounds off the miss. But NBA rules forbid him from being credited with the shot or rebound.
The Cavs, who may still finish with the league’s worst record and thus have the best chance to win the No. 1 pick in May’s NBA lottery, didn’t show any such selfishness during their comeback or in overtime.
At one point, the 7-foot-3 Ilgauskas, whose career has been slowed by injuries, went diving into New York’s bench to try and save a ball from going out of bounds.
“That showed how much we wanted to win the game,” Boozer said.
The Cavs like anything but a team tanking games for a chance at getting Akron high school superstar LeBron James.
“It didn’t like a team that quit, did it?” Cavs interim coach Keith Smart said.
Cleveland trailed 86-71 midway through the fourth and were still down 90-80 with 6:39 left.
But the Knicks continued to misfire, got sloppy with the ball and Cleveland clawed back. New York didn’t score a field goal in the final 6:39 of regulation.
Cleveland blew several chances to tie it in the final two minutes before finally catching the Knicks at 92-92 on Boozer’s two free throws with 4.3 seconds left.
New York’s Clarence Weatherspoon missed a wide-open 10-footer at the horn that would have won it.
“If that goes, we’re going home,” Latrell Sprewell said. “We were up double digits and let them get back in the game. What can you say, it was a bad couple of breaks down the stretch.”
Davis hit a jumper to open overtime and Cleveland scored the first eight points of the extra session to go up 100-92 on Smush Parker’s two free throws with 38.7 seconds left.
Thomas hit a 15-foot jumper and a 3-pointer to get the Knicks within three, but Parker iced it by hitting two more free throws with 12.3 seconds left.
Davis went scoreless in the first period, and didn’t make his first basket until 7:49 remained before halftime.
But the 6-foot-7 guard spent the remainder of the half posting up LavorPostell and finished with 16 points in the quarter on 7-for-12 shooting.
The Cavs had four players with double figures in rebounds for the first time since Dec. 7, 1985, and set a Gund Arena record with 65 boards. … New York’s Charlie Ward made his 100th 3-pointer, giving the Knicks four players with 100 or more 3s this season. Houston, Sprewell and Howard Eisley also broke the century mark. … The Cavs will unveil their new colors and logo for nextseason on Wednesday before the home finale against Toronto.