For some reason, the San Antonio Spurs decided to disrespect the New York Knicks and were punished by losing to the NBA’s worst team 104-100 in overtime which could be costly in their race against time to improve their position in the Western conference playoff seeding.
It’s rare to see Popovich fuming as he did after the loss, but March is usually a special time for the Spurs, a time for them to surge forward. With too many losses earlier in the season, there’s no room for losses against teams they should easily beat. And even with all due respect to the Knicks – they’re still an NBA team with NBA players, they’re also 13-53 going into the game. They finished it as the first team ever with a sub 20% winning percentage gets to beat a defending champion this late in the season.
We didn’t respect the game. We didn’t respect our opponent. It was a pathetic performance, and I hope every player is embarrassed. Not because we’re supposed to win the game, quote unquote, but it’s about how you play the game.
Lou Amundson shaking in the paint gave the Knicks the ticket to overtime after a Marco Belinelli corner shot was ruled as a two-pointer and not a tre. The Spurs’ offense simply stagnated during overtime, and despite the help from the officials could only make one basket through the five minutes. Alexey Shved played excellent defense to keep the Knicks heading for a win, which isn’t about anything but feeling good about themselves for once.
Langston Galloway scored 22 points and Shved finished with 21. Amundson scored 12 points to go with 17 rebounds, while Andrea Bargnani scored 16 points to finish with a double double due to 10 rebounds of his own. The Knicks are a joke on most nights, but even players that are ridiculed all throughout this season have a certain ounce of self respect, and being able to put all the talk of tanking and other nonsense behind them to beat a team that usually takes everyone and everything very seriously.
Since 2011, the Knicks are a part of a small group of Eastern conference teams (along with the Heat and Bulls) that don’t have a losing record when facing the Spurs. The Spurs shot just 38.3% from the field in this victory, looking a bit too comfortable in their leads and not going for the jugular when they had the chance. Manu Ginobili didn’t play, obviously making it more difficult but with seeding and their W-L record so important, there’s no room for these kind of mistakes and mishaps to happen this late in the season.