San Antonio, TX – With their first loss staring them in the face, the Knicks did what they have done all season.
They made plays, particularly veteran guard Jason Kidd.
Kidd drained three fourth-quarter treys and New York used a late offensive blitz to shock San Antonio, 104-100.
The onslaught included 27 points, including four three-pointers, in the final seven-plus minutes, statistics made even more impressive considering Carmelo Anthony's off shooting night.
The Knicks' top offensive player managed just nine points on 3-of-12 shooting. Raymond Felton picked up the slack with a game-high 25 points, Kidd added 14, J.R. Smith donated 17 off the bench, including the go-ahead three-pointer late in the game, and Tyson Chandler posted a 13-point, 11-rebound effort for the Knicks, who are the league's last remaining unbeaten and are off to their best start since a 7-0 open to the 1993-94 campaign.
"It shows me this team is for real," said Knicks head coach Mike Woodson. "We beat a great team tonight."
New York won its first game in San Antonio since April, 2003, snapping a nine- game losing streak in the Alamo city.
Tony Parker led San Antonio with 19 points and 12 assists, while Kawhi Leonard posted 16 points and nine rebounds and Tim Duncan added 14 points and 14 boards.
"Tony was exhausted, we got tired, but part of it was trying to guard those guys," Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said.
It looked like the Spurs were in control as Tiago Splitter scored 11 straight, including a 3-point play for an 89-77 lead with just over seven minutes to go. Yet, like they have all season, the Knicks didn't quit, turning to an unlikely sharpshooter to bring them back into the game.
Kidd drained consecutive treys to draw the visitors within 89-85, and the Knicks rallied all the way back on Smith's 3-pointer for a 97-95 lead. Kidd followed with his third three of the period for a five-point game and Chandler's thunderous dunk moments later made the score 102-95, a 25-6 scoring stretch over a six-plus-minute period.
Neither team pulled away in a back-and-forth first quarter that saw no lead bigger than five points. Felton's trey opened a 29-24 lead, but San Antonio cut the deficit to 33-31 by the quarter's conclusion thanks to Patty Mills' pull-up jumper.
The Knicks went in front 45-38 on the heels of consecutive treys by Steve Novak and Rasheed Wallace. Another Wallace 3-pointer opened a 48-40 lead, but the Knicks went into a dry spell over the last six minutes. The Spurs went on a 17-7 scoring stretch to close the half with Parker's layup and Danny Green's trey just before the horn giving the home team a 57-55 advantage.
Leonard, Duncan and Parker each scored 10 points in the first half, as San Antonio made 53 percent of its shots and committed just three turnovers. Felton led the Knicks with 11 points, while Anthony struggled to four points on 2-of-7 shooting in the first 24 minutes.
San Antonio ran off eight in a row in the latter stages of the third period to open a 74-69 lead, and the Spurs maintained their edge at 76-72 after three quarters.
Manu Ginobili scored 12, Splitter added all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter and Stephen Jackson posted 10 points with 11 rebounds for San Antonio ... The Knicks made 11 threes, including a 6-of-10 effort from Felton and Kidd ... Felton also had seven assists, while Anthony grabbed 12 rebounds ... The Knicks had given up 40 points or less in the second half of each of their past five games before San Antonio scored 43 on Thursday ... New York now has 54 three-pointers in six games ... Anthony finished 15.8 points below his season scoring average ... It was Parker's third double-double of the season.