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Knicks 94, Spurs 90: ‘The Unicorn Hath Returneth’

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Why do we always randomly beat the Spurs?

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at New York Knicks
I’M GOING TO TATTOO THIS PICTURE TO MY FOREHEAD
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Indeed, P&Ter prfella...The Unicorn hath.

The Knicks rounded out their miserable 5-game home stand with a win over the Spurs, who sit in second place in the Western Conference standings, for those of you counting.

For some reason, the Knicks seem to play the Spurs super well, and I have no idea why. The franchise that has been the model for consistency in the NBA struggles with the Knicks. Whatever voodoo is going on behind the scenes to make New York rise up against the Spurs, P&T is here for it and will award it five Clyde blazers out of five.

How did the Knicks, amidst more off court drama and more losing, manage to beat a contender like San Antonio? I think they pulled off the improbable win by bucking a recent trend — hanging in games early on, then letting the game slip away once they fall behind by a couple possessions.

Sunday the Knicks did fall behind big — by as many as 12 points — but managed to find their way out thanks to a strong close to the second quarter and a quick start to the third. They entered the danger zone, and with the point of no return quickly approaching, they were able to stay the hell away from that powerful vortex of L’s.

Carmelo Anthony played well, Kristaps Porzingis looks confident again, Derrick Rose got hot and Willy Hernangomez thanked Jeff Hornacek for the start by turning in a strong performance.

The opponent caveat does apply here, however. The Spurs played uncharacteristically bad ball today. Danny Green shot a paltry 2-13 from the field, Tony Parker was held scoreless and it just felt as though LaMarcus Aldridge didn’t have much of an impact on this game despite his 15 points and 10 boards. But still, they’re the freaking Spurs.

Considering the Knicks turned the ball over 14 times in the first half, I’m sure they’re more than happy to have Houdinied their way into a really nice win. It also doesn't hurt that it was a nationally televised one, too. With all the crap happening in Knicks-land recently, beating a team like the Spurs for everyone to see will, at the very least, ease the public turmoil for a few days. Or maybe not, who knows. These are, after all, the freaking Knicks.

Let’s get to some notes from the game:

— D-Rose: He did it, he did the thing. He did it more than once. The P&T comment section meltdown inducing thing. Yeah, he complained about a no-call instead of getting back on defense. Oh man, is it ever annoying.

Rose had a nice game on the stat sheet; he scored 18 on 6-11 from the field, and added 4 boards and two assists. P&Ter Rice2012 commented: “Rose is a pretty good SG.” And I’d have to agree with that.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t really have the size for any other position. Hornacek has experimented with two point guard sets before, but they didn’t work and that was probably because neither of their roles were really defined. If he can come up with a good package for that — accommodating for Jennings doing point guard stuff and D-Rose’s drives to the bucket — that could be interesting. Either way, Derrick Rose was good today.

— Melo also had a good game today. He started off slow, with just 4 points in the first half. But he came back to score 21 in the second half, including this dagger to seal the game and send the Garden crowd home happy for the first time in a looooong time.

He also did this, which was fun:

Melo added 7 boards and 2 assists to his stat line. He was clutch, and looked like he was having fun out there. How he manages to do that, we’ll never know. But he looked dialed in, and that was nice to see.

Yeah, Melo wanted it, and his effort made that fact very apparent.

Notably, Anthony has taken over the 25th spot in the all-time scoring rankings, previously occupied by Charles Barkley.

Congrats to Melo for that! Suck it, Barkley!

— Kristaps Porzingis: I’M GOING TO DO NOTES IN ALL-CAPS FOR KP FROM NOW ON BECAUSE MY GOODNESS IS HE EVER FUN. WHO SAID THE KNICKS COULDN’T HAVE NICE THINGS??

KP DROPPED 16 POINTS ON JUST 4-10 FROM THE FIELD, BUT 3-5 FROM DEEP AND 5-5 FROM THE STRIPE. ALSO, HE DID THE BANK SHOT THING. FOLKS, THE NO. 1 INDICATION OF HOW WELL KP IS GOING TO PLAY ON ANY GIVEN DAY IS WHETHER OR NOT HE’S MAKING THAT BANK SHOT. HE ONLY DOES IT WHEN HE’S FEELING REAL GOOD. WELL:

AWWW HELL YEAH!!!

KP ALSO HAD 7 REBOUNDS, 2 ASSISTS, A STEAL AND 4 BLOCKS, INCLUDING THIS ONE WHICH LED TO POINTS ON THE OTHER END:

THE FACT THAT AT 21 AND HE’S ABLE TO TURN IN GAMES LIKE THIS DESPITE EVERYTHING HAPPENING IN THE ORGANIZATION IS SPECIAL. HE’S THE FUTURE OF THIS ORGANIZATION, AND HE HAS INDEED RETURNETH (IT’S OK, OLDE ENGLISH WAS NEVER ON ANY CURRICULUM).

— Willy Hernangomez started and, once again, looked real, real good. He scored 12 points on a super efficient 6-8 from the field, collected 9 rebounds, had 3 steals and even added an assist for good measure. Look, we’re not saying he’s Rudy Gobert over here, we’re just saying to give him a chance. He’s clearly a skilled big man, and someone that can be relied on for solid starts and excellent minutes from off the bench.

For example:

That’s a damn impressive play, and it came at a big spot in the game.

He can knock down the mid range with a decent amount of touch, which is a great tool and I’m sure you Knicks fans are well aware of that, too.

(Also, if any of you can tell us what ‘CHOF’ means, that’d be swell. This is urgent).

KP, Rose and Melo will get tons of credit for the way this game went, and rightfully so. But Willy is showing that he absolutely belongs, and I hope the Knicks are taking notice of that. #NoTradeClause4Willy2k17

***

Another turbulent week ends on a high note for the Knicks. Go watch the highlights and enjoy this one; we got Russell Westbrook and OKC on Wednesday :/