New York Knicks VS. San Antonio Spurs
February 13, 2017
Knicks 94, Spurs 90
A little sun was peaking through the dark clouds over MSG on a Sunday afternoon.
After perhaps the worst loss of the season against the Denver Nuggets, the Knicks faced a daunting challenge against the Western Conference powerhouse San Antonio Spurs. With all the drama surrounding the New York Knicks, and I wont get into that yet, it looked like this would be the perfect setup for a Spurs beatdown of the Knickerbockers. I, along with many others, was wrong. The Knicks showed up in a big way on a nationally televised game and took down the Spurs, 94-90.
How did they do it? Well, they finally inserted Rookie phenom, and new Garden favorite, Willy Hernangomez into the starting lineup, and he was a welcome addition. He played another solid game and scored 12 points while pulling down 9 rebounds. This kid could be the spark on both ends to bring the Knicks out of this prolonged and miserable stretch of basketball. Along with WHG, Carmelo Anthony shook off a tough first half shooting wise to lead the Knicks in scoring once again with 25 points, as well as some big buckets in the fourth quarter. He continues to show that he wants the big shot down the stretch, and against San Antonio, he delivered. The most impressive part about it was the fact that he was matched up with the best defender in basketball today, Kawhi Leonard. Leonard, who can lock up anybody in the NBA, took it to Carmelo in the first half, but Carmelo was able to get on a roll in the fourth quarter, and when that happens nobody can guard him, not even Kawhi.
Leonard was also a real headache for the Knicks on offense as well, as he led the Spurs with 36 points to go with his 9 rebounds and 4 assists. This guy has become a top 5 player in the NBA, and he can takeover a game on both sides of the floor. Watching him pick up an opposing guard at half court is incredible. He lurks, and then pounces on them with his enormous hands and long arms. A game changer on defense, for sure.
Derrick Rose and Kristaps Porzingis also showed up to play in this one, with Rose scoring 18 points and Porzingis scoring 16 points and blocking for shots. The key in this game was the effort, and the Knicks finally looked like they were tired of being the laughing stock of the NBA, something they’ve been dealing with for the past decade and a half, but who’s counting?
I’d be remised if I didn’t mention the off court drama with the Knicks. Jimmy Dolan banned Charles Oakley from the Garden, which sucks. However, in a calculated move, he invited back ex-Knicks like Bernard King (G.O.A.T), Larry Johnson (who works with the Knicks), Vin Baker (played like 11 minutes as a Knick), and none other than Latrell Sprewell, who cursed out little Jimmy when he was traded way back in 2004. It’s an obvious shot at Oakley, and a desperate PR move to save face with all of the Oakley drama. I’m firmly on team Oakley, but it was nice to see Sprewell back at the Garden.
Guys like him, Marcus Camby, and Allan Houston are the guys I remember from when I first starting watching basketball. I’m only 22, so I started watching them right when sucking became the norm. Awesome.
The Knicks are going to look to build on this one, but the building is going to be met by the wrecking ball known as Russell Westbrook when the Knicks travel to OKC and take on the Thunder. If the Knicks can slow down Westbrook like they did the Spurs, maybe he’ll only get double figures in two out of his three usual triple-double categories.
Courtney Lee, good luck bud.