San Antonio Spurs : 120 : : New York Knicks : 89 — November 10, 2013
A manhandling if ever there was one man so thoroughly handling another man in a physical confrontation.
The Knicks came out like hot garbage baking in the midday sun and the Spurs were an alien space station directing its biggest laser at Earth, signaling the eradication of all terrestrial existence. That’s how big the difference in these teams was; one was comparable to refuse and the other refused to be comparable to mere earthlings.
The Spurs finished the game shooting 53.9% from the field, including 72% in the first quarter as they raced out to a 35-17 lead. They accomplished a similar feat in the third, increasing the lead to 30 points following a 29-15 quarter.
In the end, they shot ten percentage points better than the Knicks from the field, the arc, and the stripe, which is unfortunate for New York since all of those missed shots were falling into the opponent’s hands without Tyson Chandler (out with a fracture in his leg for 4-6 weeks) in the middle, leading to a 51-33 advantage for the Spurs on the boards. As careless as the Knicks were (and seemingly always are) with their shooting, defense, and general self-awareness, at least they didn’t turn it over or play loose with fouls. That has a lot more to do with a lack of intensity on both ends though because they clearly bent to San Antonio’s will and never seriously challenged, which is becoming a trend for them.
J.R. Smith finally made his season debut after serving his five-game suspension and it was not great: 1-of-9 for 5 points in 21 minutes. He’s looking to crack the starting line-up, having already proven he can win the Sixth Man award (and then make the victory fairly hollow with a sensational disappearing act in the playoffs), so he’s lucky that his primary competition for the spot is Iman Shumpert, who finished with 3 points on 1-of-5 shooting. That’ll be one of THE stories to watch this season so stay tuned!
The Spurs made a bit of a move themselves, moving Marco Belinelli into the starting line-up for Kawhi Leonard, and it’s hard to argue with the results (Belinelli with 9/4/4 and Leonard with 18/4, both shooting better than 70%). The Knicks have a way of making opposing coaches look like genuises and opposing players look like legends in the Garden and the Spurs really didn’t need their help on either front. New York, New York, baby!