The Knicks rebounded from a slow start to make it a close game at the half, but the San Antonio Spurs dominated in the second half to hand New York a 119-93 defeat, snapping the Knicks’ three-game winning streak.
Five things to know from Tuesday’s game
1. With Derrick Rose ruled out just over an hour before the game due to health and safety protocols and Elfrid Payton still out with a hamstring injury, Tom Thibodeau turned to Frank Ntilikina to start at point guard. But the Knicks got off to a very slow start, prompting Thibodeau to call a timeout as the Spurs took an early 12-6 lead.
Julius Randle led the way for the Knicks in the first with six points and eight rebounds, but it was an overall sloppy start for New York, as they shot just 9-of-24 (37.5 percent) from the floor in the quarter. Thanks to some late threes from Immanuel Quickley, Kevin Knox, and Obi Toppin, the Knicks stayed in it, but trailed 25-23 after 12 minutes.
2. The uninspired play continued into the second, but the Knicks’ defense allowed them to take a 29-27 lead on a Quickley floater with just under nine minutes to go in the half. Quickley’s action off the bench started out slow, but he began to come alive as the half progressed. The Knicks pushed their lead to six points with under five to go in the half, but the Spurs ended the quarter on a 17-7 run, including a buzzer-beating three from Patty Mills, taking a 51-47 lead into the break.
Randle finished the first half with 11 points and nine rebounds, while RJ Barrett had 11 points of his own. Quickley was right behind them with 10 points in 15 minutes.
3. In the third quarter, Ntilikina began to heat up. The French guard hit three three-pointers in the quarter and finished with 11 points in the frame, giving him a new season-high.
But things quickly spiraled on the Knicks in the third, as the Spurs connected on seven three-pointers in the quarter, outscoring New York 36-21. Mills hit three more threes in the quarter, and the Knicks were completely outplayed, as San Antonio took a commanding 87-68 lead into the fourth.
4. Things really got out of hand in the fourth, with San Antonio going up by as many as 27 points. It was just one of those nights for the Knicks, but one that’s been uncharacteristic of the team this season. Quickley and fellow rookie Toppin had some nice moments in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough to pull the Knicks back into the game. Toppin finished with seven points, four rebounds, and three assists in a decent showing off the bench.
Overall, the Knicks’ defense allowed San Antonio to hit 18 threes, while the Spurs shot 48.3 percent overall from the floor.
5. Looking at the box score, Quickley led the Knicks in scoring with 26 points, but he shot just 8 of 21 from the floor. Randle finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists, but foul trouble played a part in his slower second half. Meanwhile, Barrett finished with 15 points while Ntilikina had 13 points in his first start of the year.
For San Antonio, Trey Lyles provided a spark with 18 points as the starting power forward, while Mills had 14 points off the bench, including four three-pointers.
The Knicks finish out their first-half schedule on Thursday night, when they host the Detroit Pistons at 7:30 p.m..