The New York Knicks likely will look like a much different team when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.
After all, a lot has happened in the last six days since the teams met in San Antonio.
The suddenly surging Knicks aim to win their third straight game on Wednesday night when the teams conclude their two-game season series.
The teams were on the opposite ends of routs in the metro New York area Monday, when the Knicks posted a 102-83 win over the Phoenix Suns and the Spurs dropped a 139-103 decision to the Brooklyn Nets.
The lopsided win was the second consecutive for New York, which snapped a five-game losing streak Saturday night with a 108-88 victory over the Houston Rockets. The fifth loss in the skid came at the hands of the Spurs, who defeated the Knicks 122-115 last Thursday.
But the Knicks snapped their slump by outscoring the Rockets 81-53 in the final three quarters of that game before riding a 21-0 run in the second quarter on Monday. New York led by as many as 32 points before halftime and never led by fewer than 18 in the final two periods.
“It’s just one of those runs where you don’t really know what’s going on, but it’s contagious,” said Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson, who returned Monday after missing three games with a sore right hip. “So we were able to get that lead and keep it.”
The consecutive wins also marked a return to defensive form for the Knicks, who allowed 106 points or fewer in seven of their eight consecutive wins from Dec. 4-20 before giving up at least 113 points in each of their five straight subsequent losses.
“I think our defense and our rebounding, we’re getting back on track,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said.
The Spurs might be running into a second straight Big Apple team that has found its groove. San Antonio never led Monday, when the red-hot Nets won their 12th straight game.
“They were rolling from the jump all the way to the end of the game,” said Spurs forward Keldon Johnson, who scored a team-high 22 points.
The loss came after an encouraging December for San Antonio, which owns a 12-25 record that is second-worst in the West ahead of the Rockets and the fourth-worst mark in the NBA. The Spurs went 6-8 last month with wins over a quartet of contenders in the Knicks, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz.
San Antonio also lost by nine points to the New Orleans Pelicans, who are a game behind the Denver Nuggets in the race for first place in the West. The Spurs ended December with a 126-125 loss to the Dallas Mavericks — who are in fourth place in the West — in which they trailed by 12 points in the fourth quarter but had a chance to take the lead in the waning seconds.
–Field Level Media