Knicks 128, Spurs 115
The Knicks failed most of their tests versus the upper echelon of the NBA so far this season, but for one night they looked as if they actually belonged with the big boys, as they knocked off the red-hot San Antonio Spurs, 128-115.
The Knicks [20-14] were led by Wilson Chandler’s game-high 31 points and nine rebounds in a game that didn’t figure to be close considering New York was shorthanded. The Knicks were without Danilo Gallinari, who will be sidelined for two to three weeks with a sprained knee. But the much-maligned bench stepped up its game to help snatch the surprising victory. Shawne Williams and Toney Douglas each chipped in with nine points apiece, while Bill Walker added six points in only 20 minutes of action. Williams also added five rebounds in his short span, while Douglas had three assists and key fourth quarter buckets.
New York got off to a fast start, pouring in 36 points against a Spurs team that is among the elite defensively in the league. Chandler was hot early, as he notched 12 points in the opening stanza, while Stoudemire added eight points and four assists.
The Knicks continued their hot trend, as they tallied 101 points after three quarters against a Spurs squad that’s accustomed to holding opponents under the century mark for an entire game.
Chandler wasn’t alone in his excellence, however, as Amare Stoudemire had 28 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and three blocked shots and Raymond Felton added 28 points, seven assists, and no turnovers.
San Antonio [29-5] was led by Tony Parker’s 26 points but could never fully get out of deficits of nine, 11, and 12 points in the second half. New York basically led wire-to-wire and showed that just maybe they’re ready for prime time against the league’s elite.
What went right ...
1 Pure Wil — Too big to be defended by guards and too quick for forwards, Wilson Chandler was a force all night. Chandler either bullied smaller defenders or blew by the bigs for a season-high 31 points last night.
2 Catch your breath — San Antonio, one of the league’s premiere defensive teams, couldn’t slow down the up-tempo offense — much like every other squad that’s come across the NBA’s second-highest scoring unit. Amare Stoudemire and Raymond Felton added 28 points apiece.
3 Closing time — The Knicks sucked the usually dull Spurs into playing at a breakneck pace, even in the final quarter. Toney Douglas knocked down a big corner 3 with 5:45 left to keep Spurs at bay, 115-107, as they dropped just their fifth game of the year.
By the numbers:
Much the way the Knicks made the staid Boston Celtics play their up-tempo style, netting 116 points in a game last month, they outran the Spurs in this one. Whenever the Spurs allow 100 points in a game, it’s sometimes shocking but seeing them allow triple-digits after only three quarters – as the Knicks did by tallying 101 -- is a awesome stat that indicates just how far the Knicks have come and how close they are to threatening for a title.