The New York Knicks snapped a four-game losing streak and prevented what would have been the franchise’s first ever 0-5 home stand to grab a surprising 94-90 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
The Knicks pulled out what was probably their best defensive game of the season, holding the Spurs to 36 percent shooting from the field and 6-29 from beyond the arc.
“That’s great to watch. That’s the right way to play basketball,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said after the game, citing the team’s improved effort on the defensive end.
“I always believed they were capable of (playing defense),”
“I think the practice and looking at the tape, them talking amongst themselves about trusting each other I think the trust came out tonight.”
Carmelo Anthony top scored for the Knicks, finishing with 25 points, with 21 in the second half whilst shooting 60% from three. Melo also drained this dagger to finish the Spurs and light up The Garden.
— The Fuzz (@TheFuzzNBA) February 12, 2017
For the Spurs, Kawhi Leonard was the only guy who really got his offense going, finishing with 36 points off 13-27 shooting. The rest of the Spurs starting line-up combined for 8-34 from the field.
“The object is to put the ball in that orange ring,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said to the media after the game. “That’s what we are all trying to do. Play a little D at the other end. But that orange ring, that ball’s got to go in there. Thirty-six percent from the field and 20 from 3, whatever it was, that’s not going to get it done on the road.”
A lot of the credit for that goes to Lance Thomas, who returned to the Knicks line-up for the first time after missing 14-games after suffering an orbital fracture against Toronto.
Thomas spent a majority of his 17 minutes guarding either Kawhi or Danny Green, who finished the game 2-13 from the field and 2-10 from three-point land.
After playing Kristaps Porzingis at the five and going small in their last game against the Nuggets, Hornacek tinkered with the starting line-up again, opting to go big and starting Willy Hernangomez alongside Porzingis.
Hernangomez proved to be good addition, showcasing his offensive confidence down the stretch where he hit some big shots in the grand scheme of things including this show and go straight out of Derrick Rose’s playbook.
— Yarısaha Basket (@YarisahaBasket) February 12, 2017
“He’s always been a good offensive player.” Kyle O’Quinn said in regards to Hernangomez’s game. “He’s getting his chance out there. He definitely hit some big shots.
“For a young player he’s poised, he likes to be in the game. He hit some shots, left hand, right hand. He’s got a soft touch around the rim.”
With the All-Star break approaching, the Knicks will look to take their momentum from this game into their Wednesday match-up against the Oklahoma City Thunder with O’Quinn thinking that this could be the start of a nice run to get them back into Playoff contention.
“I’m sure a lot of people counted us out.” he said. “Going up against a team like the Spurs, having dropped games against the Suns and guys that we should have beaten, in some peoples opinion.
“It’s definitely the start of something good and Oklahoma City, they’re a talented team but just like we beat the Spurs today, we feel we can beat a Playoff team like the Thunder.”