Knicks Hope To End Skid Against Spurs
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(AP) – It’s been a season of streaks for the San Antonio Spurs, who already own two double-digit stretches of consecutive victories.
The New York Knicks aren’t so enamored with the streak they’re building.
After losing by 13 at Madison Square Garden earlier this month, the NBA-best Spurs look to extend their latest winning streak to eight while handing the visiting Knicks a fifth straight loss Friday night.
There have been five winning streaks of at least 10 games in the league, and San Antonio (36-6) – with a run of 12 from Nov. 1-24 and 10 from Dec. 3-22 – owns two of them.
The Spurs are well on their way to a third, wiping out an 11-point halftime deficit in the third quarter en route to a 104-95 win over Toronto on Wednesday.
“In the second half we got back in the game because we played very, very good team defense,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “Those stops generated offense, and that was the ballgame.”
San Antonio’s streak began two weeks ago against Indiana as it bounced back from its only consecutive losses of the season.
The first of those was the result of some dreadful defense Jan. 4 at MSG. The Knicks (22-19) shot 54.9 percent in a 128-115 victory, the most points San Antonio allowed in a regulation game since March 1993, and a performance that Popovich called “pathetic.”
The Spurs, however, haven’t been lax defensively at home against New York in recent years. They’ve held the Knicks to 85.7 points per game in winning the last seven meetings at the AT&T Center.
New York has allowed 114.3 points per game during its losing streak, and Amare Stoudemire sounded fed up after the latest defeat. Houston jumped out to a 36-27 lead after one quarter Wednesday and didn’t look back, outscoring the Knicks in each quarter of a 104-89 win.
“We didn’t bring the effort defensively, from the start,” Stoudemire said. “They pretty much got what they wanted.”
Since Dec. 15, New York’s only win in 10 games when allowing 100 points came against San Antonio. It’s 5-1 when holding the opponent under the century mark in that span.
One thing the Knicks will want to do Friday is defend the 3-point line. The Spurs are 24-1 when they make at least 37.5 percent of their long-range attempts, a percentage four of New York’s last six opponents have exceeded.
Manu Ginobili has averaged 20.0 points during San Antonio’s latest streak, but the Spurs’ balance beyond Ginobili, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Richard Jefferson keeps showing up.
At least one San Antonio player outside of those top four scorers has scored 13 points or more in every game during the streak.
DeJuan Blair has done it in two of the last three contests. The second-year center had 18 points and 13 rebounds in a 101-89 win over Dallas last Friday, then had 22 points and 11 boards against Toronto.
The Spurs are 7-0 when Blair has a double-double.
“It can get scary because he can do so much,” backup guard George Hill said of Blair, who had 17 points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes at MSG earlier this month. “He’s quick for his size, he’s starting to get a nice little touch around the basket.”
New York will have to worry about containing Parker, but it’ll also be anxious to get Raymond Felton back on track. Felton, who had 28 points in the win over the Spurs, has totaled 27 points and shot 23.8 percent in his last three games.
Updated January 20, 2011
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