Knicks @ Spurs – AT&T Center
When: Tuesday | 7:30 PM
Where to Watch: MSG Networks
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York: As the NBA’s only unbeaten team, the Knicks are feeling good entering a difficult back-to-back against the Spurs and Grizzlies. The only negative news out of the New York camp is the knee swelling Ronnie Brewer is dealing with after Tuesday’s win in Orlando. Head coach Mike Woodson told reporters he will play on Thursday night and he is listed as probable for the contest. New York is 5-0 and will continue the first true road trip of the season in San Antonio before traveling to Memphis on Friday night.
San Antonio: It’s no surprise the Spurs are once again one of the top teams in the Western Conference and the entire league. A model of consistency over the last decade, San Antonio will contend for a title behind its Big Three of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. Additionally, the Spurs have sprinkled in some young and promising players to their roster with Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, and Tiago Splitter. San Antonio owns the best record in the Western Conference at 7-1 after three straight victories on the road. The only defeat for the Spurs was a 22-point loss to the Clippers on November 7.
Last Time Out
New York: Earning their fifth straight victory, the Knicks dismantled Orlando in the fourth quarter en route to a 99-89 road victory.
San Antonio: Green drilled a game-winner in the final seconds to push the Spurs over the Lakers 84-92 on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
The Numbers Game
New York has not allowed a team to score over 40 second half points in all five of its games this season.
Match-up to Watch
Raymond Felton vs. Tony Parker
Just like the transformation in Boston where the Celtics have become Rajon Rondo’s team, the Spurs are now led by Parker. The All-Star guard is lighting quick off the dribble and he is a terrific perimeter shooter, especially from midrange. Raymond Felton will have a massive defensive challenge in attempting to keep Parker out of the lane on Thursday night. The Knicks point man can’t allow Parker to roam freely and force the New York frontcourt players to leave their man on the defensive side of the floor. Felton is proving his worth with solid play on both ends and he should be able to use his big body to wear down Parker. This matchup will not only test Felton but the Knicks perimeter defenders as well.
What to Look For
The best in the East vs. the best in the West. This is the litmus test for the Knicks, who are starting to grab headlines around the league for their impressive play on both ends of the court. Last year, San Antonio was one of the best offensive squads in the NBA with an extremely efficient and quick approach to its schemes. The Spurs are only scoring 96.6 points per game thus far but they dish out 24.6 team assists each outing, good for second in the league. New York will need to disrupt San Antonio’s offensive flow and not allow easy buckets in transition or on the perimeter. The Spurs only give up 92.6 points per game, which will challenge the Knicks to find scoring opportunities outside of Carmelo Anthony. If New York can reach the century mark and continue to limit turnovers, the squad could leave San Antonio with an unblemished record.