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Knicks 102, Spurs 98: Scenes from the return of Alec Burks, getter of buckets

Buckets were gotten.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at New York Knicks POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks might not reach the fourth seed — the Hawks and Heat still have the upper hand if they both win out — but it won’t be for lack of trying. The Knicks trailed the San Antonio Spurs by 17 points in the third quarter following yet another Elfrid Payton crap-a-thon, but these Knicks don’t quit. Tom Thibodeau certainly won’t let them.

Thibs finally inserted Alec Burks — returning from a knee contusion — for the always-ineffective Payton, and the Knicks immediately stormed back. RJ Barrett went bonkers, hitting six shots in a row at one point.

Thibs rode Burks and the starters the entire fourth quarter — Julius Randle played 45 minutes! — and it paid off with a 102-98 victory. Alec Burks was the hero with 30 points and 10 rebounds. It was a huge performance given the fact that Derrick Rose was out with an ankle sprain.

Burks once again established himself as Mr. Fourth Quarter.

All told, the trio of Burks, Randle (25 points) and Barrett (24 points) scored 79 of the Knicks’ 102 points. But a win is a win!

Recap to come.