"It would have been very easy for us to check out and get to wherever we were going to go [during the All Star break], but we were desperate men," Knicks coach David Fizdale said. "Those guys wanted this game really badly and came out and they showed that."
The Knicks players and Fizdale seemed relieved on the sideline once it was clear that New York had secured the win. The Knicks last won on Jan. 4.
"We've got a lot of competitors in the locker room as well as our staff, so it's a great feeling; it's a great feeling," said Dennis Smith Jr., who led the Knicks with 19 points and seven assists.
The Knicks' previous longest single-season losing streak was 16, set in 2014-15. The franchise's longest overall losing streak was 20 games over the course of two seasons, from March to November 1985.
New York still has one streak alive -- the club has lost a franchise-record 17 consecutive home games.
Thursday's win left the Knicks (11-47) with the second-worst record in the NBA, ahead of the Phoenix Suns (11-48).
New York hopes to use a top draft pick in June to further its rebuild. In the new lottery odds this season, the three teams with the worst records will share a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick.
In addition to having a top draft pick, New York also projects to have $70 million in cap space this summer -- enough to sign two max free agents.