The Spurs first four possessions resulted in a turnover, a missed three, another turnover, and an ugly nothing-but-backboard miss from Tim Duncan. Then, Kawhi Leonard hit a beautiful fadeaway to put the Spurs on the board. This is just so, so pretty:
Neither team shot very well to start, but New York's fan-favorite 7'3" rookie, Kristaps Porzingis was able to put up 10 points in the first quarter that led to the Knicks lead early on. This game just further confirmed for me the that the kid can really, really play. LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker came back into the starting line-up, but both struggled shooting to start, combining for 1-for-7 in the first. The Spurs as a whole shot only 36% from the field and uncharacteristically allowed 30 points from the Knicks in the first quarter.
The Spurs defense gave up way too many easy buckets through the first 15-or-so minutes of the game. The Knicks weren't doing anything special to give themselves a nine point lead. While Carmelo Anthony was spending the night on Kawhi-Island, Porzingis was scoring from all over the floor.
Offensively, not much was falling for the Spurs. They shot under 40% for a large portion of the half. Boris Diaw and David West had six each in the second to help SA climb back into it, and then a classic Kawhi steal-leading-to-an-uncontested-dunk play capped off a 10-0 run to regain the lead for the Spurs.
San Antonio was significantly better on both ends of the floor the majority of the second quarter. They led 52-49 after only allowing 19 second quarter points from New York. Porzingis led all scorers with 15 in the half, while Kawhi had 13 and nine rebounds, and held Carmelo Anthony to 1-of-9 shooting. No other players were in double figures.
The Knicks came out aggressive to start the third and quickly regained the lead. Porzingis had 22 points in 21 minuets at one point in the quarter, which accounted for a over a third of the Knicks' points as they led 64-63, despite Kawhi making shots like this:
The Knicks' shooting began to regress and the Spurs showed spurts of some great basketball in the third, getting stops and scoring in transition. Tony and Manu Ginobili began to turn it on late in the quarter. Thanks to a buzzer-beating tip-in by Langston Galloway, the Knicks found themselves down only five going into the final quarter.
The Spurs quickly jumped out to a double digit lead to begin the fourth, but the Knicks kept fighting. After going down 12, New York cut the deficit back down to three with just over two minutes left. A well executed SLOB play out of a time-out freed Manu for a layup to put the Spurs back up five, but a Knicks three made it just a two point game with under two minutes left.
The teams traded baskets for a few possessions, and then Aaron Afflalo nailed a well-contested three to put New York within one with 40 seconds left. Right after Tony hit a tear drop on the Spurs' next trip down the floor, the Knicks went right back within one off of a WIDE open alley-oop to Porzingis who was freed when Anthony
screened attached himself to Aldridge.
Tony missed a jumper, but Jose Calderon missed a corner three for the win as time expired and the Spurs survived. That was absolutely too close for comfort, but San Antonio stays perfect at home, and improves 32-6.