They certainly made more of an effort than we've seen recently, but the Knicks couldn't scrap together another upset against in San Antonio, dropping their fifth straight in a loss to the Spurs. As a team, New York played another game of inefficient offense, with each major option shooting poorly. Amar'e Stoudemire was hounded in the paint and shot just 8-25 (ending his streak of 20+ point games). Raymond Felton (8-21) and Wilson Chandler (3-10) also continued to slump, though Felton did pick things up somewhat in the second half.
That the Knicks even managed to compete (it was just a six-point game heading into the fourth quarter) is a testament to a pretty decent defensive showing. Led by Ronny Turiaf and Toney Douglas, the Knicks forced turnovers, banged in the paint, and worked the glass better than they have in recent games. Against any lesser team, New York's defensive improvement may have been enough to notch a win. Alas, the D fell short of stopping the league's best offense. Tim Duncan (21 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists) had a magnificent night, and four other Spurs reached double figures.
New York's road trip reaches its end tomorrow night in Oklahoma City, where they'll be up against another talented team that's looking to avenge a loss at the Garden.
Fresh off four straight losses, the most recent of which was a rather dull one against the Rockets, the Knicks will face the Spurs tonight in San Antonio. These teams met earlier this month at Madison Square Garden and the Knicks registered one of their finest offensive performances of the year in a rousing blowout victory. Unfortunately for New York, much has changed in the three since that night. The Knicks are 2-5 since then, having followed the exciting win with a 2-2 Pacific road trip and two ugly home losses before heading southwesterly.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to break out of that slump, Mike D'Antoni will tweak his lineup for tonight's game (and, it seems, the foreseeable future). Ronny Turiafwill start in place ofWilson Chandler, adding some size, energy, and passing to a unit that has sputtered in the first quarters of each of the last three games. Oddly enough, the lineup with Turiaf and Amar'e Stoudemire in the frontcourt and Danilo Gallinari (not Chandler) at small forward has been quite bad in its brief exposure so far this season. Either way, Chandler will still get plenty of minutes with the second unit. Maybe-- just maybe-- D'Antoni is pushing the right button and we're in for another surprise victory over the league's best team. You never know!