Philippines, 27 Mar 2023
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Spurs snap 8-game skid, trounce Knicks 111-104

NEW YORK – Seeking to make the playoffs for a record 23rd straight season, the San Antonio Spurs dominated early in the first half and coasted to a 111-104 win over the New York Knicks on Saturday night at the Madison Square Garden.

All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points while Demar DeRozan added 21 points and 9 boards as the Spurs posted a huge 68-43 lead at halftime.

The lead was trimmed to 105-96 at the 3:57 mark of the fourth quarter when Marcus Morris Sr. completed a four-point play but the Spurs regrouped with a DeRozan dunk and three free throws by guard Derrick White to quash the Knicks comeback.

The win snapped San Antonio’s longest losing streak at eight games under head coach Gregg Popovich’s tenure. With its 6-11 win-loss record, the Spurs are running 11th in the Western Conference.

During the post-game presser, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich answered queries about the team’s early season struggles yet the positive mindset that he continues to exude upon his players.

“Well, sure. They are my players,” Popovich said. “Is that a shock that a coach would be positive with his players? I get mean once in a while. Whether you are winning or losing, the reasons remain the same why you win and why you lose.”

Three more Spurs finished in double figures with Australian guard Patty Mills with 17 points, Trey Lyles with 12 markers and Austrian center Jakob Poeltl contributing a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The home team was led by Morris Sr. and Bobby Portis with 20 and 16 points, respectively. The Knicks drop to 4-12 under coach David Fizdale.

The Spurs went 40-for-75 for a 53.3% field goal conversion while the Knicks had 40-for-93 for 43% clip.

The Knicks host the Brooklyn Nets tomorrow, November 24.

TIDBIT: I was on my way out of the visitors locker room when I bumped into San Antonio assistant coach and shooting legend Chip Engelland whom I had met back in 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston when the Spurs faced off against the Celtics.

After the usual exchange of pleasantries, he asked “So, how is Philippine basketball doing nowadays?”

“Well, Coach Chip, the PBA Governors' Cup is still ongoing and crowd-favorite Ginebra is waiting for a semis opponent. Also, the league formed a team recently to compete for the Southeast Asian Games to be held in Manila,” this beat writer responded.

“Oh, I wish them good luck and my best regards to all back in the Philippines,” he replied as we bade each other goodbye to enable him to partake on a late dinner and rejoin the Spurs team.

Philippine basketball legend and now San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Chip Engelland (R) poses with Philboxing writer Olie Iglesias in 2017.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Oliver Iglesias.

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