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Game Preview: Knicks At Spurs

The Knicks take their 5-0 record into the Home of the Alamo to take on the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. The Spurs come into tonight’s game with a 7-1 record, tops in the Southwest division and Western Conference. They have won three straight ballgames and are coming off a close, two-point victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center this past Tuesday.

Leading the way for the Spurs is of course Tim Duncan. Duncan seems to be drinking from the fountain of youth this season. He currently leads the Spurs in scoring (18.8), rebounding (9.6) and blocks (2.8). His 18.8 scoring average is 3.1 points higher then his scoring average from last season and 5.4 points higher from two seasons ago. His shooting percentage is up 30 points from .492 last season to .522 this season. He is currently fifth in the NBA in PER (28.09) and third in the league in blocks. All of this at the spry age of 36.

As for the Knicks, they come into tonight’s game as the lone undefeated team in the NBA. There team numbers have been well documented: second in scoring (103.4), first in points allowed (87.8), first in three-point shooting (43%), first in turnovers (10.8), first in steals (10.4) and first in both offensive efficiency (11.4) and defensive efficiency (93.6). They have won each of their five games by double digits, with only one of those teams (the Dallas Mavericks) being able to score over 90 points.

The Knicks are led by the NBA’s top scorer Carmelo Anthony (26.8). Aside from his scoring, Anthony also leads the team in rebounding (7.4) and blocks (1.0).

Things to watch for:

Match up to watch: Raymond Felton vs Tony Parker. The Spurs point guard loves to play against the Knicks. In 17 career games vs the KnickerBockers, Parker has a scoring average of 18.8. That is tied for his highest average against any team in the NBA (Golden State Warriors). He has shot 54% against the Knicks, also tied for his highest against any NBA team (Washington Wizards). As for Felton, there must be something about shooting three-pointers against the Spurs that he enjoys. In 16 career games against them, Felton has shot 45% from beyond the arc.

  • The Knicks have won all of their games despite leading neither game in rebounding. The Spurs have not been much better however, as they are 28th in the NBA in rebounding despite their 7-1 record.
  • The Knicks have lost their last nine games in San Antonio. Meanwhile, the Spurs are looking for their 18th win in their last 19 regular season games dating back to last season.
  • In six of their eight games, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich used a starting front-court of Kawhi Leonard, Boris Diaw and Duncan. Leonard and Duncan have started every game this season. In the two other games, Tiago Splitter and DeJuan Blair split the starts at center. It will be interesting to see which lineup Popovich uses. If he uses the Leonard-Duncan-Diaw frontcourt, there should be no issue with Knicks coach Mike Woodson using the front-court he has used all season so far of Ronnie Brewer, Anthony and Tyson Chandler. If Popovich uses a two big man front-court of Leonard, Duncan and either Blair or Splitter, it could force Woodson to move Anthony to small forward and insert either Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby or Rasheed Wallace at power forward.

Game tips off at 8:30 p.m.