Knicks drop Spurs, run record to 6-0
SAN ANTONIO — Instead of watching their season-opening winning streak come to a messy end, the New York Knicks served notice that they can’t be counted out in the fourth quarter.
Raymond Felton scored 25 points and New York stayed undefeated by rallying late to beat the San Antonio Spurs 104-100 on Thursday night.
Trailing by 12 with 7 minutes left in the game, the Knicks (6-0) closed on a 22-11 run to remain the NBA’s only unbeaten team.
“It shows me that this team is for real,” New York coach Mike Woodson said. “We beat a great team tonight — a well-coached team. It’s the first time I’ve ever won in San Antonio, so I feel pretty good about that. It’s tough to win here.”
J.R. Smith added 17 points, Jason Kidd had 14 and Tyson Chandler 13 for the Knicks, who snapped a nine-game skid in San Antonio. Felton, Smith and Kidd alone outscored the Spurs 26-25 in the fourth.
Tony Parker led San Antonio (7-2) with 19 points and 12 assists. Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and Tim Duncan had 14 points and 14 rebounds.
San Antonio grabbed its largest lead at 89-77 with 7:14 remaining when Tiago Splitter’s free throw completed a three-point play. That capped a 13-point run by Splitter in the fourth after he failed to score while playing just a few minutes through the first three periods.
“He had some great minutes in there,” Duncan said. “He got himself rolling there for a little while and kind of got us on the board.”
Woodson called a timeout before Splitter shot the free throw, and the chaos that ensued was exactly what the Knicks needed.
“I called one timeout, and it was kind of disarray in the timeout,” Woodson said. “I was screaming and they were screaming, but we were still in the game.”
Kidd then sparked the rally with a pair of 3-pointers that pulled the Knicks to 89-85 with 5:49 remaining.
“He does it every single time,” Chandler said. “I said it last game, whether it is a steal or a 3-pointer or something (else), he seems to always get it done.”
Smith and Kidd hit consecutive 3s to give the Knicks a 100-95 lead with a minute left.
San Antonio missed seven of its last nine shots and had two turnovers in the final 2 minutes. The Spurs had won 18 of 19 regular-season games against New York.
The late defensive push offset an uncharacteristic start by the Knicks.
After holding their first five opponents to 87.8 points per game, the Knicks allowed the Spurs to set a quick tone when Danny Green opened with consecutive backdoor layups off assists from Parker and Duncan.
The Knicks kept pace behind Felton, who had nine points and two assists in the opening period while shooting 3 for 5 from the field. Felton’s first 3-pointer gave the Knicks a 29-24 lead with 2 minutes left in the first period.
Steve Novak and Rasheed Wallace hit back-to-back 3s to extend New York’s lead to 45-38 with 7:21 left in the first half. New York opened 6 for 7 on 3s.
DeJuan Blair smiled at Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and gave him a double fist bump before taking the court for his first start of the season. The move paid off. Blair had two points and an assist while denying Carmelo Anthony the ball defensively and hounding the Knicks All-Star into missing his only attempt in the opening 8 minutes.
Anthony appeared frustrated by the lack of touches, shaking his head and laughing when the Knicks rotated the ball away from him late in the second quarter.
Anthony got aggressive after that possession, taking four shots in the final 3 minutes of the first half. He was blocked twice by Duncan under the basket. The first block resulted in Anthony’s own follow-up basket and the second led to a 3-pointer by Green with 0.8 seconds that gave the Spurs a 57-55 lead at halftime.
Anthony finished with nine points on 3-for-12 shooting from the field.
“There was a point in the game where I huddled everybody up and said use me as a decoy. And it worked out there,” Anthony said. “Pop did a great job of not even double-teaming me, but triple-teaming me; every time I touched the ball, making me see three guys.”
HEAT 98, NUGGETS 93
DENVER — LeBron James had 27 points and 12 assists, and the short-handed Miami Heat ended a decade-long drought in Denver.
Shane Battier added 18 points — all on 3-pointers — in the Heat’s first win at Denver since Jan. 29, 2002, a streak of 10 straight losses. Every other NBA team has won at the Pepsi Center during that span.
The Heat nearly blew a 19-point second-half lead but held on despite being without Dwyane Wade (foot) and Mario Chalmers, who went to the bench after just 7½ minutes with a strained right triceps.
Andre Miller had 19 points and Kenneth Faried led the Nuggets with 16 points and a career-high 20 rebounds. Ty Lawson, who is averaging 13.5 points, didn’t score.
Lawson would have given Denver its first lead of the night with 5:35 remaining, but his basket was waived off when he was whistled for an offensive foul for running over Battier.
Coming off a loss to the Clippers 24 hours earlier, the Heat looked primed for a letdown at altitude but instead never trailed in beating Denver for the second time in two weeks.
Ray Allen, who had the go-ahead four-point play with 6.7 seconds left in a 119-116 win over Denver in Miami on Nov. 3, sank a 3-pointer just before halftime that gave the Heat a 54-42 lead at the break after committing just two turnovers.
NETS 102, CELTICS 97
NEW YORK — Joe Johnson made the tiebreaking basket with 3:03 left, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez each scored 24 points, and Brooklyn won its fourth straight.
Williams had eight assists and made all nine free throws on a night Paul Pierce had two huge misses in the final minute for the Celtics, who played without injured point guard Rajon Rondo.
Johnson finished with 19 points and eight rebounds for the Nets in front of a sold-out crowd of 17,732.
Pierce scored 22 points and Leandro Barbosa had 17 in place of Rondo, who was out with a sprained right ankle. Kevin Garnett added 14 points but Boston had its three-game win streak snapped and lost to the Nets for just the third time in 21 meetings.
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