Rapid Reaction: Spurs 118, Knicks 105
March, 7, 2012
By Jared Zwerling | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
WHAT IT MEANS: Was this really the Knicks' 39th game of the season? They arrived at the AT&T Center Wednesday night like it was their first time playing together, showing no cohesion on offense and looking lost on defense.
The Knicks were sorely missing Tyson Chandler's interior defense -- he missed his first game of the season with a hamstring strain -- which could have interfered more with Spurs point guard Tony Parker, who scored a game-high 32 points. But overall, they didn't put up much of a fight. They dropped their third straight game on the road, and now stand three games below .500 (18-21) and remain the eighth seed in the East.
TURNING POINT: When Parker stepped on the court. The Knicks had no answer for the Spurs point guard -- a similar situation to Sunday against the Celtics and Rajon Rondo. Parker scored eight of his first 10 points in the paint in the first quarter, and finished the first half with 23 as the Spurs led 58-41.
The Knicks made a 11-2 run toward the end of the fourth quarter, after being down 24 in the second half, but the Spurs' Big Three of Parker, Manu Ginobili (17 points and six assists off the bench) and Tim Duncan (17 points and eight rebounds) were too much for the Knicks.
THE BAD: 1.) The Knicks' defense was a disaster tonight, especially guarding the Spurs' pick-and-roll featuring Parker. They showed no pressure and rotated poorly, providing no help defense. Midway through the second quarter, the Spurs had 22 points in the paint, and by that point Chandler and Jared Jeffries' absence was more than evident.
2.) The Knicks were out of sync offensively. While Carmelo Anthony rebounded well from Tuesday night's six-point performance with 27 points, all the other Knicks were quiet. While the Spurs shot 54.1 percent, the Knicks' accuracy was only 42.7 percent.
3.) More specifically, the Knicks took too many jump shots, mostly by Melo, who shot 12-for-24 from the field. Jeremy Lin wasn't able to get into the lane to generate kickouts and ball movement to open shooters. Case in point: Lin only had four assists and Steve Novak, who was on a tear lately, only had one 3-pointer.
THE GOOD: 1.) The Knicks' defense-to-transition opportunities. They were able to convert many of their 12 steals (Lin had three) into fast-break points (24 compared to the Spurs' 11).
2.) While Lin struggled with his floor game, Baron Davis had another strong showing, dishing out eight assists. If he was scoring points (he had none, shooting 0-for-7), the debate about who should be starting, Lin or Davis, would be heating up.
3.) With Iman Shumpert in the starting lineup, replacing Landry Fields, and Novak not getting his usual open looks, J.R. Smith picked up the slack off the bench. He had his best performance with the Knicks, scoring 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting (four 3-pointers).
WHAT'S NEXT: The point guard obstacle course continues Friday night when the Knicks face Brandon Jennings and the Bucks in Milwaukee -- the Knicks' final game on their four-game road trip. The last time these two teams played each other, Jan. 20 at the Garden, Jennings scored 36 points on 6-for-12 shooting from downtown as the Bucks blew out the Knicks, 100-86.
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