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NBA -- Knicks bounce back, trounce Spurs


PhilBoxing.com




NEW YORK -- The San Antonio Spurs rolled into town with a bit of history on their side, having beaten the host Knicks in the 1999 NBA Finals and a current seven-game winning streak to boot. Although the host Knicks have struggled recently, they were ready for the streaking Spurs.

As wonderful as it is to reminisce, though, this was not the Spurs-Knicks rivalry of old. Tiago Splitter is no David Robinson while the mighty Tim Duncan is now a little worn and weathered at age 36. Knicks big man Marcus Camby is still 6-foot-11 and wiry but he is nowhere near the quick athlete he was in 1999 when the Knicks last made the NBA Finals.

The pitch on this one was the match-up between heady court generals -- speedy Tony Parker of the Spurs and witty Jason Kidd of the Knicks. It was, however, third-string point guard Pablo Prigioni who stole the show.

Prigioni, a 35-year old rookie from Argentina, logged only six points and three rebounds, but he threw nine helpers, including an spectacular alley-oop dunk to J.R Smith that brought the Madison Square Garden fans to a frenzy.

"It was great to see Prigioni play like that, taking over a team. Although he's not a scorer, he can find the open teammates all over the court. He does that great. I know him very well and it's great to see him confident and managing possessions and feeding different players. That's what he does best," fellow Argentine and Spurs stalwart Manu Ginobili told reporters after the game.

Sizing each other up, both teams started slow. Knicks head coach threw in his own version of the Twin Towers -- Tyson Chandler and Camby --- and it worked early on as Duncan seemed willingly content with just shooting midrange jumpers. New York's defense was so stingy that no Spur scored in double figures after two quarters. Parker chalked eight while Duncan and the rest of the Spurs couldn't chip in more than five points,

Superstar Carmelo Anthony provided 13 points first-half point which allowed the Knicks to take a precarious 42-40 lead at the halftime break.

The pace picked up considerably in the second half where the fresher Knicks wisely pounced on a weary Spurs team that had played their fourth game in five nights. As Kidd rested, Prigioni dazzled, leading a charge that would allow New York to build a 97-76 bubble en route to a fairly easy 100-83 rout.

Anthony called it a night with 23 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Smith and the comebacking Amar'e Stoudamire combined for 30 points while Chandler had 10 points and 14 rebounds. Hotshot Steve Novak went 5-for-7 from three-point range and chipped in 15 points. The Knicks were without point guard the injured Raymond Felton (fractured finger) and Rasheed Wallace (sore left foot.)

Gary Neal led the Spurs with a mere 12 points while Parker and Duncan had 11 each.

Despite the loss, the Spurs remain formidable with a 26-9 slate while the Knicks dropped slightly to 22-10. (RYS)


CAPTION. With a little help from teammate Tim Duncan, Spurs point guard tries to dribble away from a chasing Knicks guard Jason Kidd Thursday night at the Madison Square Garden In New York, where the Knicks beat the Spurs, 100-83.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Reynaldo Seno.


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