The two best teams in the NBA meet Thursday night when the New York Knicks, the league's last remaining undefeated team, visit the Spurs in San Antonio.
The Knicks, whose best start to a season was a 7-0 open to the 1993-94 campaign, are the league's best defensive team. They are the first team in the shot-clock era to hold its opponents to 40 points or less in the second half of each of their five games. New York opponents average a paltry 38.6 ppg in the second half.
The offense hasn't been too shabby, either.
The Knicks rank second in scoring and made 43 3-pointers in their first three games, which was an NBA record. Carmelo Anthony leads the NBA in scoring at 26.8 ppg and this has all lead to a dominant start for the Knickerbockers.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Knicks are the third team in NBA history to win the first five games of the season, all by double-digit margins.
New York came from behind to beat the Orlando Magic 99-89 on Tuesday. That started a three-game road trip for the Knicks, which continues Thursday and comes to an end Friday against the tough Memphis Grizzlies.
"It's only five games into the season," said Anthony. "We have a long way to go. We have a full season ahead of us."
The Knicks will face their toughest challenge on Thursday. They have lost nine straight in San Antonio and the Spurs just completed a 3-1 West Coast trip. The Spurs moved to 7-1 for the seventh time in franchise history. The last time they started with such an impressive mark was way back in the 2010-11 season.
The Spurs handed the Los Angeles Lakers their first loss since Mike Brown was fired on Tuesday, 84-82. Danny Green nailed a go-ahead 3-pointer with 9.3 seconds on the clock to give San Antonio its third straight win.
"Any road win is always sweet," said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, whose team leads the NBA with four victories away from the AT&T Center. "We executed the play very well. Of course, you still have to knock it down and Danny did. Timmy (Duncan) set a great screen. It worked out for us."
Tony Parker, who missed the previous game with a stomach flu, led the way for the Spurs against the Lakers with 19 points and seven assists. The venerable Duncan chipped in with 18 points, nine boards, four assists and four blocks.
Eleven different Spurs played in their West-Coast finale and Gary Neal was the only one of the 11 who didn't score. Parker, Duncan and Green were the only Spurs to play longer than 30 minutes.
In addition to winning nine in a row at home against the Knicks, the Spurs have won 11 of the last 13 overall meetings between the two teams, including two straight.