NEW YORK — “Our defense was pathetic. It was the worst defense of the year for us.”
It took those few words from San Antonio Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich after the game to sum up the entire night for the Spurs as they lose to the New York Knicks, 128 to 115, and fall to 29-5. The 128 points scored by the Knicks was the most allowed by the Spurs this season.
The first-half pretty much dictated how the entire night would go for the Spurs. The Spurs exhibited porous defense as the Knicks were getting into the paint and getting clear shots at the rim for easy baskets. Fortunately for the Spurs the Knicks were not getting it done on the defensive end as well which allowed San Antonio to be within striking distance.
The Spurs allowed New York to score 12 second-chance points in the paint and turned the ball over nine times which allowed the Knicks to take a slim lead over the Spurs at the end of the first-half, 72 to 69.
The second-half saw the Spurs continue to exhibit poor defense against the Knicks, as New York was still getting to the rim, and getting most of the second-chance opportunities. However, despite the lackluster effort on the defensive end, the Spurs remained close and had many opportunities to take the lead but just could not get over the hump. The Knicks were simply making the shots down the stretch especially Knicks’ guard Raymond Felton who made back-breaking shots to put away the Spurs. At the 3:13 point of the fourth quarter, coach Popovich emptied the bench as New York stunned the NBA’s number one team.
After the game, Popovich said the Knicks were just hungrier and more physical than the Spurs were. He went on to say, “If we score 115 points, I expect to win the basketball game.” As all Spurs fans expected as well.
The Spurs will next face the Boston Celtics tomorrow night in Boston.
- The Spurs had six players scoring in double-figures and were led by Tony Parker who scored 26 points and six assists. George Hill came off the bench to score 13 points.
- Largest lead for the Spurs was four points. Knicks led as much as 13 points.
- The Spurs outscored the Knicks in the paint 62 to 50.
- The Knicks had 16 second-chance points while the Spurs had 14.
- Knicks’ Wilson Chandler had a season high of 31 points.
- Popovich on the Knicks, “I just know they are a very good basketball team. They’re not a dangerous team. They’re a good team. There’s a big difference.”
- Popovich on the Knicks turning the corner, “I’m happy for Mike (D’Antoni). He had to go through some tough stuff and they (Knicks) have obviously turned the corner. They’re obviously going in the right direction.”