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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. New York Knicks

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On a SEGABABA, the Spurs welcome the lowly Knicks into town as they look to avoid losing two straight.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs New York Knicks

AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
December 10, 2014, 7:30 p.m. Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

I once took a trip to NYC with some friends, during which we eventually found ourselves lost on the other side of the river, in Jersey. The guy who was driving, looking fairly stressed after having circled around the same restaurants and mini-malls, asked where we were.

"We're in Hoboken," one of us responded.

But our friend, having never heard of Hoboken, feeling a bit flustered and being, all in all, a bit of a space cadet, took that to be some sort of obscure metaphor and responded "I know, but where are we?"

And after finally establishing we were referring to our actual geographical location, he replied matter-of-factly, "Oh, I thought you meant like a Hoboken state of mind."

Eventually we found our way to the P.F. Chang's or wherever it is we were headed. The schtick ended up going that the term being "in Hoboken" could mean anything regarding feeling disoriented, confused or drunk.

I give you the 2014-15 New York Knicks:

One clip doesn't paint the picture of a whole season, but it can symbolize some of the broad strokes that comprise it -- whether it be the winsome blues and greens of an idyllic hill-country landscape or the inky blacks and bleak grays of a Manhattan dumpster fire.

It's not even about the block itself (which is, as the video above describes, nasty). This is a possible three-on-two break that stalls into a three-on-five pull-up three, with a back-pedalling Al Jefferson the only "threat" at the rim.

The Knick players slog down the court in a game that's not lost, and the trailers don't seem to note that Kemba Walker is coming up from behind. It's like a horror film wherein Calderon is the clueless boyfriend wandering into the woods with a flashlight. Even in pick-up games, a teammate will call it out when a defender is approaching the ball-handler from behind.

And then there's this guy:

dude

No, not Kemba. This guy -- tuxedo T-shirt guy, who bites his thumb at Walt Frazier's suits (and, consequently, all of Knicks nation) by merely being. And as the Knicks' historically terrible start to the season rolls on, more opposing fans will follow suit, emerging from the woodwork and the safety of their frat houses to scream victoriously at their crestfallen foe.

dude2

New York would actually come alive in this game and even go on to take the lead in the final moments. But because the Knicks are the Knicks (and because Kemba is Kemba), they lost at the buzzer thanks to a Walker drive and layup. So goes the season for a team in a Hoboken state of mind.

Roughly this time last year, a hot Spurs team welcomed the Knicks -- off to a similarly disappointing start to the season -- into the AT&T Center and coughed up what many thought would be an easy win. The 105-101 defeat was spearheaded by Carmelo Anthony and an all-world performance from Iman Shumpert, who laid a career-high 27 points on 10-13 shooting from the field and 6 of 8 from beyond the arc.

Even though they missed the postseason last year, that previous version of the Knicks did finish the season strong, going 15-5 over their last 20 games. With new management and first-year head coach Derek Fisher, can this team find itself in time to contend again?

New York is most talented on the wings. Beyond Carmelo's scoring prowess, they still have J.R. Smith. whose streakiness can either swing things in New York's favor or be their death knell. There's also Tim Hardaway Jr., another two-guard that can put points up fast, along with the aforementioned Shumpert, whose offense, like the noble walrus, surfaces every two weeks or so.

But this Spurs team has been especially good at defending around the perimeter, ranking close to the top not only in opponent's three-point field-goal percentage but also in three-point attempts per game. It's part of the reason San Antonio has done so well without one of its best defenders.

Tiago Splitter, who was close to returning to the team in last night's game against Utah, could see limited action tonight. He's only totalled 11 minutes so far this season, but the team will need him very shortly as it enters the buzzsaw of its regular season.

Last night's 100-96 loss in Utah isn't ideal, putting added pressure on the Spurs to bounce back after getting home to San Antonio from a late flight the night before. There's still on excuse for dropping a second game to the Knicks, who will also be coming off a Tuesday night game.

Matchup to watch: Kawhi Leonard vs. Carmelo Anthony. The bigger Melo can take Leonard to the post and make life difficult, as one would expect from one of the best scorers in the league. Leonard will want to make Anthony work on the other side of the court, which has never been the Knick's strong suit.

vs.

New York Knicks (4-19)

San Antonio Spurs (15-6)

December 10, 2014

AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

7:30 p.m. CST

TV: FSSW

Radio: WOAI 1200AM

Starters

Jose Calderon

PG

Cory Joseph

Iman Shumpert

SG

Danny Green

Carmelo Anthony

SF

Kawhi Leonard

Quincy Acy

PF

Matt Bonner

Amar'e Stoudemire

C

Tim Duncan


Game prediction: Spurs by 10.

For the Knicks' perspective, visit Posting and Toasting.

As always, Tony must dominate Fisher, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment: Tel: 210-444-5607 | dfarias@attcenter.com