Much has been made about the New York Knicks being a veteran team and veterans find ways to pull out victories.
That was the case Thursday night in San Antonio as the Knicks erased a 12-point deficit during the final seven minutes and shot their way to a 104-100 victory, remaining undefeated on the season.
One of those veterans who stepped up was Jason Kidd, who knocked down three shots from behind the arc in the Knicks 25-11 run to close out the game.
Carmelo Anthony had only nine points, his worst offensive game of the season, but the likes of Kidd and Raymond Felton stepped up to carry the Knicks’ offense. Felton led the Knicks with 25, while Kidd had 14, nine in the fourth quarter.
The two teams went back-and-forth at a frantic pace as neither team really had more than a two possession lead for almost three quarters.
But late in the third, the tide started to swing San Antonio’s way after three straight possessions of what I like to call old Knicks basketball. The ball stopped moving entirely as J.R. Smith forced a jumper on an isolation play. Then ‘Melo did the same, followed by another force by Smith and a Ronnie Brewer missed layup. San Antonio turned all of that into points the other way and opened up a four point lead at the end of three.
Then Tiago Splitter started playing like a young Tim Duncan as the Knicks had no answer for the Brazilian. Splitter scored the Spurs first 13 points of the fourth quarter to give the Spurs an 89-77 advantage.
But then the Knicks started moving the ball again and more importantly they started knocking down shots.
Felton made a layup and Kidd hit a pair of three’s to cut the lead to four. Then after the Spurs scored the next five, Felton made another layup and Tyson Chandler converted a traditional three-point play. Felton made another layup to make it a one-point game.
After Tony Parker knocked down a pair of free-throws with just under three minutes remaining, Smith hit a jumper to cut it back to one and drilled a triple with under two minutes left to give the Knicks a 97-95 lead. Kidd added an insurance three-ball on the next trip down the floor and the Knicks closed things out to win their sixth in a row.
Lost in the shuffle of the Knicks comeback was the performance of the defense during the final seven minutes. After the Spurs got up 12, they made only three of their final 13 shot attempts.
In addition to the big nights from Felton and Kidd; Smith (17), Chandler (13) and Rasheed Wallace (10) also finished in double figures.
Six Spurs finished in double figures, led by Parker with 19.
The Knicks road trip continues tomorrow night when they travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies, who have won seven straight games.
Notes: The Knicks shot 45.9 percent from the floor and made 11-of-25 (44 percent) attempts from behind the arc…San Antonio shot 43.7 percent from the floor, but made only 8-of-23 attempts from behind the arc (27.6 percent)… Anthony had 12 rebounds while Chandler had 11…Felton led the team in assists with seven…The Knicks turned the ball over only seven times on the night…One negative note, the Knicks shot only 65.2 percent from the charity stripe.
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