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December 25, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson watches game action against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks must eliminate slow start vs. Spurs

The New York Knicks have a big showdown against the San Antonio Spurs Thursday night at Madison Square Garden and if the Knicks have any chance at getting back on track, they must eliminate the one thing that has plagued them as of late- slow starts.

It has been a problem during their past two starts as the Knicks fell behind by as many as 27 in the first half to the Sacramento Kings and by as many as 19 Tuesday to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Dec. 26, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA: New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler reacts as he talks to a referee in the first quarter against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks came back in both games, but ultimately the early hole cost them wins.

“Eight of the 10 games that we’ve lost, we had bad starts in that first quarter,” Woodson told ESPN’s Jared Zwerling. “That’s not a good sign in terms of when you’re losing games.”

A slow start won’t work Thursday night against the 26-8 Spurs. If they do come out flat, the Knicks will get run out of their own building.

The Knicks used a furious fourth quarter comeback to beat the Spurs once this season, but they will need a more complete effort for four quarters to do the same this time around.

On average in their 10 losses, the Knicks have been outscored 29-25 in the first quarter of those games and 27-22 in second quarters. That leads to being down by an average of 56-47 at the half.

They simply have to avoid coming out flat.

In only one of the Knicks ten losses (Dallas) have they held a lead after the first quarter and only twice (Dallas and Brooklyn) have they had the lead at halftime.

It has been more of a problem as of late.

In four of their five previous losses (Houston, Chicago, Sacramento and Portland), the Knicks have been down by an average of 60-44 at the half.

A lot of that is on the defense, but the Knicks must come out with energy at both ends of the floor to begin games, as well as finish them.

They can get out of that funk Thursday night against the Spurs.

If they come out flat once again it will be a very long night at The Garden.

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Tags: Mike Woodson New York Knicks San Antonio Spurs

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