San Antonio shoots 56 percent; N.Y. loses 7 straight

NEW YORK (AP) -- Already a really good team, the Spurs came to
New York as an angry one.

The Knicks never had a chance.

Michael Finley scored 19 points and San Antonio shot 56 percent
Wednesday night in its 109-96 victory over New York, which has lost
seven straight games.

The Spurs had lost two in a row and were coming off a 109-107
overtime loss at Milwaukee on Tuesday night on Andrew Bogut's
basket at the buzzer.

"We responded well from a real tough loss last night," Spurs
coach Gregg Popovich said. "That's what a coach always looks for.
It was great to come out angry enough to try to put last night out
of their heads. We played well most of the night, but a lot of the
fuel for that came from last night."

Tony Parker added 18 points and 10 assists as the Spurs'
starting guards combined to make 15 of 22 shots against the Knicks'
dismal perimeter defense. Finley was 8-of-12 in another start in
place of Manu Ginobili, and Parker was 7-for-10.

The guards were so good that the Spurs didn't even need much
from Tim Duncan, who played only 22 minutes and scored 13 points.

"We attack the game in many different ways," Duncan said.
"Some nights it's interior, but a lot of it is our pick-and-roll
and finding our shooters. If they're going to play the
pick-and-roll a certain way or double team in the post, our
shooters are going to have wide-open shots, and we have some of the
best in the league."

San Antonio was shooting 63 percent after three quarters and was
easily on its way to bettering its season high of 56.3 percent
against Boston on Nov. 11 before its reserves were only 8-of-21 in
the final 12 minutes.

The Spurs salvaged the final game of their three-game trip. They
return home Friday to host Toronto before traveling to Detroit for
their NBA Finals rematch with the Pistons on Christmas.

Larry Brown's old team will certainly provide more of a test
than his current one.

The Knicks trailed by as many as 32 points, and the only reason
they avoided their worst loss of the season was because the Spurs'
starters were on the bench in the fourth quarter. New York trailed
by 31 points after the third.

"I thought when we started the season with the schedule the way
it was, even though we were losing games I thought we were making
progress," Brown said. "Now it seems like we're not making any

"It's hard to put a positive spin on it. You saw it."

Jamal Crawford scored 16 points for New York, and Channing Frye
and Stephon Marbury each added 14.

Finley scored nine points in the first 4 minutes as the Spurs
opened a 13-4 lead, and that was essentially it. The Spurs shot 63
percent in the first quarter in building a 29-16 lead.

The Knicks used a brief flurry to close within five points in
the second period, but the Spurs scored the next 11 points and had
a double-digit lead the rest of the way. They finished the half on
a 23-7 run and went to halftime with a 56-35 cushion after Finley's
3-pointer with 1.5 seconds to go.

The Spurs shot 65 percent in the half and Finley scored 14

"I think we played consistent the whole game and played
unselfishly," Parker said. "The second half (we) came with the
same energy. We had to be motivated because we just lost two

The only fight the Knicks put up came from Antonio Davis, who
fouled Parker with 8:18 left in the third quarter. The Spurs
thought the foul was too hard, and as players from both teams
huddled to talk about it, Davis gave Duncan a little shove as he
was walking away.

By then, San Antonio already led by 23 points. The lead grew to
86-54 when Brent Barry made a 3-pointer with 2:09 left in the
quarter. Barry finished with 13 points

Game notes
Ginobili missed his sixth consecutive game and eighth this
season with a sprained foot. ... Knicks center Eddy Curry missed
his third straight game after spraining his ankle last Thursday in
practice. Rookie Nate Robinson was out with a stomach virus, the
second in a row he was inactive. ... The Knicks' worst loss this
season was by 20 points last week against Milwaukee. ... With New
York in its second full day of a transit strike, the Knicks
announced that a limited number of tickets for Friday's game
against Utah will be discounted by more than 40 percent to fans
presenting a MetroCard. The team said the offer continues even if
the strike has been settled.