The New York Knicks (9-21) travel to San Antonio tonight to take on the 25-7 Spurs who are their usual dominant selves. Back in November these two teams met and it wasn’t pretty, with the Spurs rolling to a 120-89 victory. The bad news is the bottom seems to be truly falling out on the Knicks season as they’ve lost three in a row and now have a difficult West Coast swing coming up. The good news is that Carmelo Anthony is expected to return to the line-up, after missing the past few games with an injured ankle.
San Antonio hasn’t lost to a sub .500 team yet the season, a fairly remarkable stat. The Knicks are going to be without Ray Felton, Pablo Prigioni and Metta World Peace, further limiting their depth. If they are going to even be competitive tonight, they must find some degree of consistency on defense and get a big shooting night from Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith, who has been playing slightly better as of late.
Toure Murry has moved into a prominent role at point guard, thanks to Beno Udrih’s continued struggles and the Knicks need for his defensive ability. Tonight will provide a great challenge for him, as he goes against Tony Parker and the always efficient Spurs offense. Parker is currently averaging 18 points per game and 6 assists, while Tim Duncan keeps plugging along with 14.2 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game. Marco Belinelli has been a nice addition to the Spurs rotation and is chipping in nearly 10 points per night with a 15.1 PER.
The Knicks are going to be heavy underdogs in their next five games (San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Detroit and Miami). Are they going to lay down and die as the Toronto Raptors start to pull away with the Atlantic Division? Nobody would be surprised to see the Knicks come out of this stretch at 9-26 and with their season all but over. Or, will they show a little fight and be able to steal an upset or two? We start to get some answers tonight.
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