Recently the buzz in New York has been about one coach publicly airing his frustration with losing to a Hall of Fame worthy rival. Hopefully for Jet fans Rex Ryan stopped talking about Peyton Manning long enough to watch last night’s Knick game. New York toppled the league’s best record last night, beating San Antonio 128 to 115.
Prior to this game Mike D’Antoni has been 11-30 all time against the Spurs, and 7-18 in the regular season. Oddly enough a casual look at the box score might have indicated a San Antonio victory. Six Spurs managed to score 10 or more points, compared to only four Knicks. Additionally New York didn’t have a hot night from downtown, making only 8 of 27 (29.6%).
Rather the team did it with turnovers and free throws. The Knicks offense coughed the ball up only 6 times, and every player had an assist. Granted 6 turnovers are a low amount, however New York managed to do it just last month against Denver, and this is the sixth time they’ve done it with D’Antoni as the coach. Although the Spurs hit more free throws (23-30), New York was more efficient from the line only missing three (20-23).
If scoring 128 points on the Spurs seems like a lot, it’s because it is. According to ESPN’s Stats and Information:
The last time the Spurs allowed this many points in a non-overtime game came in March 1993, when they gave up 132 to the Celtics in Boston.
How long ago was that?
That Spurs team featured David Robinson, Vinny Del Negro, Avery Johnson, and no Duncan, and was coached by John Lucas.
However this year’s Spurs are different from their predecessors. Last year San Antonio had the league’s 11th slowest pace, while this year they are the 10th quickest. Additionally they no longer rely on defense, as they are the league’s best offense and only rank 9th on defense.
Nonetheless, this is a win that Knick fans can hang their hat on. Against the league’s best team, the lead only changed 3 times, and the Spurs capitulated in the end. With 3 minutes left, Popovich sent in his reserves for garbage time.