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Spurs 94, Knicks 84: Scenes from a rough but valiant loss

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The Knicks lost. The Spurs are extremely good and Kawhi Leonard defends Carmelo Anthony as well as anyone does. I'm not mad. The Knicks kept the game competitive throughout, and did so despite sustained stretches of Melo failing to beat Kawhi on his own (he wised up later) and some overall horrid shooting. I've seen the Knicks curl up and die far too often not to appreciate a brand-new bunch hanging with one of the most polished sporting outfits on Earth. Osborn's got a recap later, but here are some scenes to catch you up:

Despite a poor shooting line, Kristaps Porzingis influenced the game -- positively! -- as much anyone on the floor. He had a very nice, very weird finish early, but mostly came up short on quality looks. That's fine.

What impressed me most was his rebounding, some of which actually involved solid box-outs:

There's more. And there's the dunk, of course. I only have so much room. Kristaps did a ton, and looked mostly great. Down the stretch, he had a couple clumsy turnovers that helped the Spurs put the game out of reach, then he left the game with an apparent neck injury when Melo fell and sat on him. Updates on that when we hear something!

Regarding Melo vs. Kawhi, this isn't gonna work, guys:

You're just not gonna beat Kawhi like that when he's got Tim Duncan backing him.

This is better! That was early on, but I thought Melo's best looks (and best defense!) came later in the game:

The Knicks kept the game within reach by limiting their turnovers, getting brief strings of stops, and even finding some easy looks against the San Antonio defense! Look at this blind pig!

But ultimately, the Spurs are the Spurs. They thrived through the backdoor early on:

... and hit their jumpers later on to punish the Knicks' mistakes and seal the deal.

The Spurs are great. I'm sad the Knicks couldn't beat them, but I'm somewhat please that they even could have.