Winning against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden shouldn’t be this easy, but the San Antonio Spurs took full advantage of a team in turmoil, picking up their biggest ever win against the Knicks, coming away with a 120-89 victory.
NBA finals form? Danny Green certainly was, scoring 24 points and adding 10 rebounds, but especially knocking down the three pointers that caused the Miami Heat so much trouble through the first five games of that series. After a slow start to the season (only six three pointers until now) Green got it together and finished with 6-of-9, making the most of the Knicks’ terrible defense constantly leaving him open.
After the game the Knicks talked about being embarrassed; about playing with no pride. They were broken down easily, but it’s easy to see that not just the Spurs are going to be able to do that, especially as Tyson Chandler remains out of the picture.
No one on the Spurs played more than 26 minutes, as they shot 53.9% from the field and 42.9% from beyond the arc.
Gregg Popovich was impressed, but he knew he was facing a rather weak opponent, at least in its current state.
I thought tonight we played a good, solid B+, A- game. There were some good things out there.
Kawhi Leonard started from the bench, as if the Spursk knew they weren’t going to need his defensive specialty early on, opting to use Marco Belinelli in the lineup instead. Leonard still scored 18 points, followed by Tony Parker with 17 and Patty Mills with 15. On nights like these, it seems everyone has an easy time scoring.
Tim Duncan was one of two Spurs players who finished with a double double, needing only 24 minutes and one field goal to pick up 11 points and 10 rebounds, doing most of his damage from the line (9-of-11), even getting the rare chance to shoot a technical foul shot because on a night like this, why not?
The Knicks got 16 points from Andrea Bargnani and Carmelo Anthony, but besides J.R. Smith making his debut this season (21 minutes, 1-of-9 from the field, 5 points) there wasn’t anything to smile about. They’re 2-4 this season compared to a 6-0 start last year, and things aren’t going to get better for them anytime soon: Tyson Chandler is still out, and there doesn’t seem to be any lineup for Woodson that creates some sort of unity or commitment to working hard on defense.
The Spurs are now 6-1 this season, with everything going according to plan, and most importantly every key player staying healthy so far. In a year that should be about Leonard and Splitter taking yet another step forward, games like these offer a breather for pretty much everyone, allowing Popovich to play all 12 players and give his veterans a rest that on a regular day would have meant keeping them out of the game completely. As we saw last season, added rest means a better Duncan and Parker when the playoffs arrive.
We just played our game and we made shots. When you make shots it helps, and the ball movement was great.