The 19-14 Knicks, now down one sharp-shooting Italian, will face the 29-4 San Antonio Spurs tonight at Madison Square Garden. With Danilo Gallinari out for two or more weeks and the league's best team in the building, Mike D'Antoni's men will have their work cut out for them. San Antonio boasts the league's best offense, including a faster-paced attack than in previous years and a stable of deadly outside shooters. (Yeah, calling anything Matt Bonner "deadly" does feel a little wrong, but the guy can shoot. Actually, I take it back. Matt's a deadly sammitch-eater.)
One of San Antonio's lone faults is in three-point defense, which makes it even more of a bummer that Gallo will be absent. Ronny Turiaf will start in his place, and will hopefully make up for the loss in shooting with better rebounding, passing, and hustle plays from the power forward spot.
In years past, Amar'e Stoudemire (as a Phoenix Sun) has had very effective games against Tim Duncan and the Spurs' front line. Whether or not that trend continues will have a lot to do with: 1. How well perimeter players can spread the floor with jump-shooting, 2. How aggressive Raymond Felton (playing with a bruised hand) is. and 3. Amar'e's own ability to stay focused and out of foul trouble. Against the NBA's most terrifying team, the Knicks will need Stoudemire's best to have a shot.
Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. on MSG and nationally on NBA TV.
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San Antonio Spurs
@ New York Knicks
Tuesday, Jan 4, 2011, 7:30 PM EST
Madison Square Garden