The New York Knicks become .500 again at 12-12 with 121-109 against Spurs. R.J. Barrett led the Knicks with seven three-pointers made that ended helping getting 32 points. While Spurs star Derrick White dropped 26 points and seven assists.
The teams started the game going back-and-forth in the first quarter. The most significant lead of the quarter was four, and both teams played solid a quarter. R.J. Barrett got an early seven points in his first game back from an ankle injury. Doug McDermott got a buzzer-beater three-pointer to finish the quarter even at 28-28. But the Spurs didn’t get a lead after the first quarter.
After a Derrick White three-pointer to bring the lead down to three 45-42, the Knicks went on an 8-0 run. That run included two three-pointers by R.J. Barrett and Derrick Rose and an obi Toppin dunk assisted by Immanuel Quickley. The Spurs cut the lead down to six. The biggest key at halftime was the second-chance points, with the Knicks having the advantage 11-3 against the Spurs.
Within the first two minutes of the second half, the Knicks was back up to 12, led by the player of the game R.J. Barrett. But the Spurs climbed back to get the Knicks lead to six. Julius Randle finally woke up to score 9 points in the third quarter by three, and his final three-pointer helped build the lead to 11 points. In the last 8 minutes of the third quarter, the Knicks went on a 22-14 run. The Knicks started the fourth quarter with a 95-81 lead.
The Spurs were able to bring the lead down to 11. But the Knicks were able to maintain at least an 11 point lead for the rest of the game. The Spurs couldn’t hit many shots, which led to only nine made shots out of 25 shots. In contrast, the Knicks shot 50% from the field, including Immanuel Quickley, with 9 points in the fourth quarter.
R.J. Barrett: 32 points 5 rebounds
Julius Randle: 15 points 7 rebounds
Mitchell Robinson: 11 points 14 rebounds
Derrick White: 26 points 7 assists 6 rebounds
Dejounte Murray: 15 points 7 assists 7 rebounds
Jakob Poeltl: 13 points 8 rebounds
The Knicks have their second win since removing Kemba Walker out of the lineup (Hawks). The question remains if Walker will return to the lineup anytime soon? Though, the Knicks have not found an identity yet as a team. If the Knicks have any chance of being a top 4 team in the playoffs, they need R.J. Barrett to be a star and play as he did against the Spurs. In my opinion, Mitchell Robinson should be in the starting lineup, and he has been outplaying Nerlens Noel. Noel has only reached double-digits in rebounds once. The Knicks got their first win in San Antonio since Carmelo Anthony was on the team.
The Spurs, since getting their best win of the season against the Warriors on the road, have lost two straight. Keldon Johnson went down with a right ankle injury in the third quarter. After the game, head coach Gregg Popovich said that Johnson’s x-rays were negative. The Spurs will play five games in the next seven days.
New York Knicks will continue their three game road trip on Friday against the Indiana Pacers.
San Antonio Spurs will play on Thursday against the Denver Nuggets.
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