The Knicks faced a daunting task in attempting to snap a four-game slide on Sunday afternoon. Carmelo Anthony and company delivered down the stretch, amped up the defensive intensity, and knocked off one of the second-best team in the league, 94-90. After a slow start in the first quarter (18 points), New York finished the first half on a 6-0 run to trim the Spurs lead to six. In the first half of action, the Knicks shot 58.6 percent from the floor and 3-of-5 behind the arc but more importantly, held San Antonio to just 48 points. The third quarter was all NYK as they outscored the Spurs 27-17 and entered the final stanza with a four-point advantage. With the Knicks clinging to an 88-86 lead, Anthony cashed a fading jumper over the double team before a picture-perfect slip screen that opened a midrange jumper for No. 7. New York effectively defended on the other side of the floor, forcing a missed 3-point attempt from Danny Green in the corner and an errant midrange shot from Kawhi Leondard. San Antonio’s top man was Leonard with 36 points while LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Knicks improved to 22-33 following the victory while the Spurs dropped to 41-12.
Knick of the Night:
Anthony scored 10 in the fourth quarter, 21 in the second half, and posted a team-high 25 in the win. In addition to the clutch buckets in crunch time, Anthony hit 3-of-5 from downtown and recorded seven boards.
Derrick Rose scored 18, Kristaps Porzingis tallied 16, and Willy Hernangomez racked up 12 points and nine boards in 29 minutes.
News and Notes:
Joakim Noah was sidelined for his fourth straight game with a sore left hamstring. Lance Thomas returned from a 14-game absence. Head coach Jeff Hornacek adjusted the starting lineup once again, featuring Hernangomez at the center spot next to Porzingis and Anthony in the frontcourt. Rose and Courtney Lee returned to their natural spots in the backcourt.
After committing 14 turnovers in the first half, New York secured the ball in the second with only six miscues. The Knicks took advantage of a slow Spurs team in the open floor by outscoring the road team 18-6 in fast break points.
The Knicks concluded the homestand on Sunday and will now travel to Oklahoma City on Tuesday for the final game before the All-Star break.
by Jonah Ballow