Looking to salvage what is left of the Rodeo Road Trip, the Spurs headed to Madison Square Garden to take on the 11-48 New York Knicks, owners of a 4-24 home record and losers 18-straight at home: one off of tying the 1993-94 Mavs for worst losing streak at home in NBA history. After their inspiring but heartbreaking performance against the Raptors on Friday, the Spurs completely no-showed for two-and-a-half quarters tonight, digging themselves too big a hole to climb out of on their way to a 130-118 loss.
LaMarcus Aldridge battled foul trouble all night and finished with 18 points in 21 minutes before fouling out. DeMar DeRozan scored 32 for the Spurs, but almost no one else showed up for this one. Damyean Dotson led the Knicks with 27 points.
- Derrick White suited up and was listed as active but did not play tonight as part of his rehab plan from plantar faciitis. He will to play in tomorrow’s SEGABABA against the Brooklyn Nets.
- Something quirky always happens in MSG. Last season it was Manu Ginobili’s accidental three. This time it was a Knicks “own goal” early in the first quarter as two players miscommunicated on a rebound, resulting in Dennis Smith, Jr. tipping in a missed Aldridge jumper. Aldridge was ultimately rewarded for the basket because he was still closest to the action at the time of the bucket.
- While recovering from an illness, Aldridge only took 8 shots for 6 points for the entire game against Toronto. He was much more lively against the Knicks and looked determine to make up for it early with 12 points on 7 shots in the first quarter, inducing a flying slam.
- Aldridge had to sit with three fouls by the time the second quarter was halfway over, two of which were horrible calls on the offensive end. On one, a defender had Aldridge’s hand hooked in his arm, but somehow he got called for the foul, and his third was a “push in the back” on an offensive rebound. In reality there was no contact; the Knicks player just mistimed his jump.
- Beyond him and DeRozan, everyone else looked pretty uninspired in the first half, especially on defense as the Knicks lit things up from all over the court. Emmanual Mudiay was your nightly “where’d he come from” player of the first half with 17 points.
- If you thought the Spurs were a mess in the first half, the third quarter was was even worse as the Knicks remained red hot on offense and the Spurs just as lost on both ends. Aldridge was back on the bench with his fourth foul barely a minute in, and the Spurs couldn’t find any rhythm on offense or a Knick on defense as the lead ballooned to 23.
- With Pop desperate to find anything that would work, an odd-ball line-up of Bryn Forbes, Rudy Gay, Dante Cunningham, Quincy Pondexter and Jakob Poeltl closed the third quarter on a 16-4 run to make it a game again heading into the fourth. That group continued to play inspired ball to start the fourth but weren’t helped by a bad goal-tending call on Cunningham and the refs incorrectly calling Poeltl inside the restricted circle on what otherwise wasn’t even a foul. Did I mentioned they missed a goal-tending call on the Knicks in the first half? The Spurs dug their own grave, but the refs were truly horrible in the game, which is unsurprising by a Tony Brothers-led group. I cringe whenever I see him.
- The Knicks were the Knicks again for parts of the fourth quarter, but the main rotation’s game-long woes continued, with passes to no one and poor defensive rotations. Too many defensive stops resulted in an offensive rebound or foul (sometimes on clean blocks), and the Spurs couldn’t quite salvage what turned out to be yet another loss to a horrible team.
- I don’t get this team. They bring their best against the best and their worst against the worst. They keep saying they know it’s desperation time and are ready to push things to the max in this final stretch but continue to no-show in what should be surefire wins. It’s definitely maddening.
For the Knicks fans’ perspective, visit Poasting and Toasting.
The Spurs conclude the RRT tomorrow in Brooklyn. Tip-off will be at 6:30 PM CT on FSSW.