San Antonio Spurs forward Danny Green had made just six 3-pointers through six games in the 2013-14 regular season, prior to Sunday’s game against the New York Knicks.
It only took Green 23 minutes to match his season mark with six 3-pointers Sunday as he returned to his home state of New York to go 6-of-9 from three point range, while also scoring in the post with a fade away and making a few layups on his way to be the Spurs’ leading scorer with 24 points and 10 rebounds in a 120-89 blowout of the Knickerbockers.
The Spurs, who had struggled mightily offensively on Friday at home against the Golden State Warriors, where they scored just 12 and 13 points in two individual quarters, came lights out in Madison Square Garden as they opened the game with a 35-17 first quarter lead.
Marco Belinelli started the game in place of Kawhi Leonard so that Leonard and Boris Diaw could each be on the floor any time Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony was playing. Even in coming off the bench Leonard scored 18 points on 7-of-10 field goals in 23 minutes.
The Knicks and defense weren’t familiar with each other as Tyson Chandler was out with an injury. The Knicks’ defense allowed the Spurs to score at minimum 26 points in the second quarter, while they gave up 29 and 30 points in other quarters.
San Antonio shot 54% on the day where 54% of their made baskets were connected with an assist (22 assists on 41 made field goals). Along with Green and Leonard, Tony Parker added 17 points and six assists, Patty Mills came off the bench to score 15 points, Tim Duncan added 11 points, and both Marco Belinelli and Manu Ginobili scored nine points apiece in the win.
On their defense, San Antonio had two quarters where they held the Knicks to 17 and 15 points. The Spurs forced the Knicks to shoot 38% from the floor while neither Anthony (16 points) nor any of his teammates were able to have a major impact on the game.
San Antonio continues to hold onto first place in the Western Conference at 6-1, but they’ll face a back-to-back on Monday as they travel to Philadelphia to face former Spurs assistant Brett Brown and the surprise 76ers, who have beaten the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls, but have also lost three of their last four games.
In Sunday’s contest, the Spurs’ lead got as high as 37 points and their scoring differential is now a +6.7, only second to the overall number one team in the NBA, the Indiana Pacers (7-0) at +9.6.