Spurs stop slumping Knicks for 8th straight win
SAN ANTONIO – Tim Duncan had 21 points and 16 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs took revenge on the slumping New York Knicks to win their eighth in a row, 101-92 on Friday night.
Tony Parker added 21 points and 13 assists as the Spurs avenged one of just six losses this season. That was in New York earlier this month, when the Knicks wore out the NBA's top team and put up a season-high 128 points on them.
New York sputtered in the rematch and tumbled to a fifth consecutive loss. Ronny Turiaf moved back into the starting lineup over Wilson Chandler, but the switch didn't instantly pay off like coach Mike D'Antoni wanted.
Raymond Felton led the Knicks with 23 points.
San Antonio (37-6) won its 17th straight at home.
But the Spurs won't see much of the AT&T Center between now and March. Having finished this perfect four-game homestand, San Antonio plays 12 of its next 13 on the road, largely thanks to its annual Rodeo Road Trip that begins Feb. 1 in Portland.
DeJuan Blair, the younger and sprier half of San Antonio's frontcourt duo, also beat up the Knicks down low with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who admonished his defense after the Knicks ran them up and down the floor in New York on Jan. 4, will be in a better mood this time. New York shot just 38 percent from the field and held Amare Stoudemire to 18 points on 8-of-25 shooting.
Stoudemire also had 15 rebounds. Turiaf had 10 points and 10 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup, but Chandler was ineffective off the bench. The Knicks' second-leading scorer this season scored just six points.
Turiaf let the Knicks go big, but the undersized Blair still got the better of them.
It was the third double-double in four games for Blair, who scored 22 in a victory over Toronto on Wednesday. The indefatigable 6-7 center was 8 of 12 from the floor, none bigger than his twisting, driving layup with 5:44 left that had an exasperated D'Antoni signaling timeout.
New York had shaved a once 14-point deficit down to four just moments earlier. It was as close as the Knicks would get, and left New York tasked with trying to avoid matching its season-high losing streak on Saturday night against Oklahoma City.
D'Antoni hoped a shake-up to the starting lineup would pay immediate dividends.
He changed up the starting five, in part, because the Knicks had been 5-1 with the lineup of Turiaf, Stoudemire back at his preferred spot of power forward, Danilo Gallinari, and Landry Fields and Felton in the backcourt.
D'Antoni said he was just trying what worked before.
"Trying something a little different," he said before the game. "Don't read into that much."
Manu Ginobili scored 16 points and Gary Neal added 10 off the bench for the Spurs.
Notes: Spurs G George Hill was a late scratch due to a sprained right thumb. It left the Spurs without two of their top reserves, as F Matt Bonner missed his third consecutive game with a sore right knee. Coach Gregg Popovich was at a loss to explain why Bonner isn't recovering faster. ... The Knicks lost for the eighth consecutive time in San Antonio, a skid that dates to 2003.