NEW YORK — The poor passing and sloppy shooting in overtime hurt, though the effort was more disappointing than the execution to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
“We didn’t respect the game,” he said. “We didn’t respect our opponent. It was a pathetic performance, and I hope every player is embarrassed. Not because we’re supposed to win the game, quote unquote, but it’s about how you play the game.”
The NBA’s worst team played it better than its defending champions, and the New York Knicks surprised San Antonio 104-100 on March 18.
Alexey Shved scored 21 points and made the key defensive play in overtime for the Knicks, who became the first team in NBA history to enter a game this late in a season with a winning percentage below .200 and beat the defending champs, according to information provided by Elias to the Knicks.
“It a special win for the team and a good win for the fans,” Shved said. “They saw a great game today and I hope we will show a little bit more wins. We just try to play hard every time.”
Rookie Langston Galloway had a career-high 22 points for the Knicks, who held the Spurs to just one basket in overtime. Lou Amundson finished with 12 points and a career-high 17 rebounds while playing tough against Tim Duncan.
Tony Parker scored 21 points for the Spurs and made their only basket in OT, 16 seconds into the period. They managed just two free throws from there in losing for the second time in nine games.
Shved knocked away Duncan’s pass intended for Kawhi Leonard with the Spurs trying to tie, then closed the scoring with two free throws.
Duncan finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Leonard scored 13 points but shot 3-of-9 from the field as the Spurs finished at 38 percent. They were 1 for 9 in OT with three turnovers.
“We had a lead in the half, we had a lead in the third and just went through a stretch there where we didn’t make enough plays,” Duncan said. “We kept them in the game and their guys stepped up and made shots and we just didn’t.”
Playing without Manu Ginobili because of a sprained right ankle, the Spurs missed a chance to inch ahead of Dallas for fifth place in the Western Conference and instead fell behind the Clippers into seventh.
New York, which trailed by 13 in the third quarter, took its first lead of the night when Cole Aldrich capped an 8-0 run with a follow shot that made it 86-84 midway through the fourth.
The Knicks tied it at 96 on Amundson’s layup with 5.5 seconds remaining in regulation and it went to OT after Leonard’s jumper went in and out with 3 seconds to go.
Shved made two free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer for a 100-99 lead, and even with two replay reviews going in their favor, the Spurs couldn’t find another bucket.
Jason Smith’s free throw made it 101-99, Duncan only hit one with a chance to tie with 9 seconds left, and Amundson added one to make it a two-point game before Shved’s defensive stop.
Without Tim Hardaway Jr. (sprained right wrist) and Cleanthony Early (sprained left ankle), the Knicks (14-53) had only 10 players in uniform in their first game back home after returning a day earlier from a five-game trip to the West that included four losses.
(BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer)Source: The National Herald