Knicks stick it to Spurs
NEW YORK – Bench player Steve Novak led a sizzling three-point shooting display as the New York Knicks mixed spectacular offence with a much improved defence to stun the red-hot San Antonio Spurs with a 100-83 win at Madison Square Garden last night.
With Novak making five-of-seven attempts from beyond the arc to total 15 points and Carmelo Anthony adding a game-high 23, the Knicks snapped the Spurs’ seven-game winning streak in rampant style.
There were further stellar contributions from the New York bench with J.R. Smith weighing in with 20 points and Amare Stoudemire 10 as the home team outshot San Antonio by 44.4 percent to 26.5 from behind the three-point line.
The Atlantic pacesetting Knicks broke the game wide open in the fourth quarter, starting out with a 15-2 run, to improve their record to 22-10.All-Stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker each scored 11 points for the Southwest leading Spurs, who had been averaging 111.7 points per game this season until their offence was stifled by the Knicks on Thursday.
New York had conceded more than 100 points a game for each of their last 10 games, but restricted the high-powered Spurs with an intensive defensive effort.
The Knicks ended a closely contested first quarter with a 22-19 lead and they padded that to 37-29 midway through the second quarter when Novak made his second three-pointer.
However, the Spurs steadily clawed their way back and successive free throws by Duncan cut the deficit to 42-40 at halftime.
New York, who outshot San Antonio by 47.6 percent to 36.4 from the field throughout the game, built a 67-60 advantage by the end of the third quarter before breaking the game wide open in the final period.
Meanwhile, in Denver, Jose Juan Barea†scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter while Kevin Love†sat on the bench with an injured finger, lifting Minnesota to a 101-97 win over the Denver Nuggets.
The Timberwolves were playing for the second straight night, but fatigue hardly appeared to be a factor as they handed the Nuggets a rare home loss.††