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Game Preview: Knicks vs Spurs

Back home but for how long?

1999 NBA Finals Game 1: New York Knicks vs. San Antonio Spurs Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

New Yorkers welcome their heroes back to the Garden for a three game home stand that closes out the regular season. They’ll be cheering on a surprising team that has officially qualified for a top six seed and is in the playoffs, because last night the Celtics got tossed around by the Cavs. Knicks been making Cavalier mince since pre-season, but hey, we all have our nemeses.

After the Wizards melted down against the Hawks last night, the climb to fourth got steeper, but the Knicks are in. We can look forward to a best-of-seven series. The only question is who will be dodging the Knicks? The answer is everyone. They don’t want it.

Official Dick Bavetta (L) separates San Antonia Sp Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images

Projected Starters

New York might be coming in light as they have a bevy of players marked questionable. All of whom play significant roles. The most glaring of which is probably Derrick Rose. To think, drafted in 2008, multiple major knee injuries and surgeries, hopped around the league a little bit, gone AWOL, on court struggles, gross off court problems, a reformation of his game and his body. Now this perpetually room temp prodigy has become a thoughtful, expressive and ebullient man, quietly helping Julius Randle steer this ship to shore.

Not only offering a steady hand through choppy water, he’s been teaching the youngsters how to read the NBA maps. An invaluable contribution to this young team’s success.

Elfrid Payton v Dejounte Murray

Frank Ntilikina v Lonnie Walker IV

RJ Barrett v DeMar DeRozan

Julius Randle v Keldon Johnson

Nerens Noel v Jakob Poeltl

The Spurs come along hobbling to the finish, 3-7 in their last ten games. Losing last night to the Nets. They have tonight and then two more games in two more days, at home against the Suns to end the season. Holding onto the tenth spot, however uncomfortably, with a two game lead over the eleventh place Kings.

Possibly no Trey Lyles for San Antonio. There are still 15 perpetual Knick-killers on that team though. Better take it to their chest.

1999 NBA Finals Game 2: New York Knicks vs. San Antonio Spurs Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Keys & Predictions

I always prepare for the quake up from my feet, as it rolls over the heels, too late to lunge out, blibip. The Patty Millsification of the Knicks defense. To not anticipate Mills firing in multiple timely bombs as he fades behind a mesh screen of bodies would be foolish. The guy is just always open when he plays the Knicks and once he hits two or three, suddenly he’s rolling to the cup and scooping the ball 19-feet in the air, over the bodies and arms, softly serve in the cone, plus the harm. The guy is a walking nine points in ninety seconds.

One win over their next three games solidifies San An’s spot in the playin. Can they stop Julius Randle? Tune on in. Whatever happens it’s a celebration of this overlooked team, with the stingy, studious front office.

Game is at 7:30, Knicks by -21.

San Antonia Spurs payer Tim Duncan (L) and New Yor Photo credit should read BOB SULLIVAN/AFP via Getty Images

Parting Shot

Finish strong, fellers. Might not be able to grab home court advantage anymore but it would some feat to vault your way up there.

1999 NBA Finals Game 5: San Antonio Spurs vs. New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images