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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at New York Knicks

The Spurs head to the Mecca of Basketball to take on the lowly-Knicks

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Toronto Raptors Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are bad in every sense of the word and have been for awhile. Sitting at 11-48, only one other team (the Phoenix Suns, 11-49) has a worse record than the Knickerbockers, who have lost a franchise-worst 18 straight games in a row on their homecourt. They rank very low in both offensive and defensive rating (27th and 26th, respectfully) and just traded away what many considered a budding (but currently injured) star in Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks in what could be seen as a salary dumpto get Tim Hardaway Jr. off their books, who is scheduled to make 36 million dollars over the next two years, the result of a 4-year, 70 million dollar deal the Knicks gave him before last season.

The only thing for Knicks fans to be excited about is the prospect of adding one of Duke’s two young guns in the NBA Draft, Zion Williamson (who I’m sure you’re aware of by now) and RJ Barrett (who you may not be aware of, but should be), and the rumblings of Kevin Durant taking his talents to the Big Apple (and maybe taking Kyrie Irving along with him).

The Spurs, who lost a heartbreaker in their first game after the All Star break in DeMar DeRozan’s return to Toronto, will have to win this game against a poor opponent to salvage something of this year’s Rodeo Road Trip, which currently sits at a dismal 1-5.

San Antonio Spurs (33-27) at New York Knicks (11-48)

February 24, 2019 | 6:30 PM CT

Watch: NBATV | Listen: WOAI

Spurs Injuries: Dejounte Murray (torn ACL — out),

Knicks Injuries: DeAndre Jordan (ankle — doubtful), Frank Ntilikina (groin — out)

More LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus, who just came off his 7th All Star Game, was listed as questionable before the Toronto game with an illness and even though he ended up suiting up, he played like he was sick as well. Taking only 8 shots for the entire game, Aldridge was never able to settle down and get into the kind of groove we’ve grown accustomed to him being in since late November. With DeAndre Jordan out, he will have to contend with the youth of 7-footer Mitchell Robinson most of the night.

Hopefully the Spurs will look to get Aldridge established early with some quick post-ups deep in the restricted area.

Knock off the rust, Derrick White!

White was on a minute’s restriction in the loss to the Raptors, seeing only 20 minutes in that game. He had a few nice passes, but struggled with his shot (3/9 for only 7 points). Defensively, the Spurs have no one who can contain opposing perimeter players for the most part, which is why White getting playing time has been such a big part of their turnaround from a dismal start to the season. While I expect him to still be limited minutes-wise, it will be important to see him be aggressive and take shots the way he has all season.

Shake off that loss, DeMar

DeMar DeRozan was, for the most part, spectacular against his former team. Going 7/12 for 23 points to lead the team, he nonetheless committed the turnover that led to the points that helped seal the game for Toronto.

I hope he doesn’t care too much about that.

Look, DeMar struggled for most of January, likely with a variety of nagging injuries that take their toll on players during the course of an 82-game season. A crucial turnover, though, shouldn’t take away from just how good he was in that loss the other night. The All Star break appears to have done him wonders, as I noticed a player with more bounce in his step than had been there since probably the last time he played the Raptors. The Spurs are better when their big dogs are aggressive and looking to score and that’s the player they need DeMar to be tonight, regardless of what happened at the end of a game.

The best players shake stuff like that off and move on to the next play quickly. Let’s hope DeMar is ready to put on a show for the people of New York.

Vegas Line: Spurs -8.5

Prediction: Spurs by 12

For the Knicks perspective, check out Posting and Toasting.