Knicks @ Spurs 8:30 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 1050 AM
New York: The Knicks are looking to salvage the current four-game road trip with two more contests on the horizon. The second of a back-to-back will be a tall test for New York as it squares off against the Spurs in San Antonio. Meanwhile, one of the Knicks most consistent defenders and rebounders off the bench did not play in the second half of last night’ s loss to Dallas. Jared Jeffries was sidelined with a sore knee and was limited to just seven minutes. New York must pick up wins not only to gain steam on the Celtics as they have spearated by 2.5 games but to avoid the Bucks, who only trail by three games for the eighth and final spot for the playoffs.
San Antonio: It’s just another season when the national pundits wrote off the Spurs and yet again, they are among the list of contenders with the league’s fourth best record. At 25-12, San Antonio made a major push during the Rodeo Road Trip by posting an 8-1 mark before returning home on February 29. The Spurs are in the midst of a seven-game homestand and welcoming back some important players to the floor. Manu Ginobili returned on Sunday after missing five games due to a strained left oblique, Tiago Splitter is now available, and T.J. Ford will back-up All-Star point guard Tony Parker.
Last Time Out
New York: Despite a 15-0 run to start the fourth quarter, the Knicks comeback was halted by Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks on Tuesday night. Dallas topped New York 95-85 as Nowitzki took over in the late stages and posted 28 points in the win.
The Spurs suffered a rare home loss on Sunday to the Denver Nuggets. Ty Lawson scored 22 points and Denver dropped San Antonio 99-94.
The Numbers Game
Steve Novak is searching for his sixth straight game with double figures in points. Last year for the Spurs, the sharpshooter connected on 54.8 percent of his 3-point attempts in 23 games.
Match-up to Watch
Jeremy Lin vs. Tony Parker
While most of the attention is focused on Jeremy Lin’s offensive production, his defensive abilities will be essential in tonight’s matchup against Parker. The Spurs point guard is lighting quick, especially in the open floor as he reaches the paint in a blink of an eye. For a player of his height, Parker finds the area near the rim at a remarkable rate, which places an incredible amount of pressure on the opposing point guard and perimeter defense. When Parker penetrates the lane, he will either finish at the rack or find wide open shooters around the arc. Lin will have to make Parker work on the defensive end to force him into foul trouble and/or fatigue the All-Star heading into the fourth quarter.
What to Look For
The Spurs are potent offensive team, ranking No. 4 in points per game and the squad dishes out 22.2 assists per outing. Legendary head coach Greg Popovich finds a way to preach ball movement and distribution of the offensive production. His role players are a key part of the gameplan, which makes San Antonio a difficult team to scout. The Knicks will have to be aware of Ginobili coming off the bench tonight. He is the Spurs most gifted offensive player and is comfortable in that sixth man role. On Sunday, the Argentinean played 24 minutes as he works his way back from the injury. Ginobili is the game-changer and the New York bench, including J.R. Smith will face a difficult challenge in limiting his impact on the outcome.