Blog Entry

Pop congratulates old foe on a beating well done

Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:21 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2011 2:15 am
NEW YORK – After pulling his starters with three minutes left in a 10-point game Tuesday night, Gregg Popovich promised to be in rare form in the cramped hallway outside the visiting locker room at Madison Square Garden. 

Oh, I’ll just get out of the way. Pop, your thoughts? 

“The New York Knicks kicked our ass,” Popovich said after the Knicks beat the team with the best record in the NBA 128-115. 

Met by stunned silence – and I’m not sure why, this was Pop, after all – the Spurs’ curmudgeon in chief said, “Do I have to think of the questions, too?” 

Oh, there were plenty of questions. Just not a whole lot of answers. Popovich had seen games like this for years when Mike D’Antoni was in Phoenix. He won more than his share and had nightmares about the rest. On this night, miles away from those Western Conference battlegrounds, the Spurs walked right into the Knicks’ up-tempo trap in what Popovich called a “pathetic” defensive effort. 

“It was the worst defense of the year for us,” Pop said. 

It was more than that. The 128 points were the most San Antonio has allowed in regulation in the Tim Duncan era. 

“They made us play their game instead of us making them play our game,” Duncan said. 

For the Spurs (29-5), who fell a game shy of tying the second-best 34-game start in NBA history behind the 1995-96 Bulls, it was merely a blip on the radar of a long season. Popovich dryly explained that pulling his starters with 3:13 left was a tactical move to save his veteran team for Wednesday night’s game in Boston. 

“It’s a long season,” Popovich said. “The chances of winning the game were not good.” 

But for the Knicks, it was far and away the most significant win in a season of revival led by the Spurs’ old foe from the West, Amar’e Stoudemire. It was’t just the Knicks’ franchise player who torched the Spurs Tuesday night, but also Wilson Chandler, who had 31 points on 13-for-19 shooting. Stoudemire had 28 points, nine rebounds and six assists. After falling short against the Celtics (twice), the Heat (twice) and the Magic, the Knicks (20-14) finally broke through against the elite. It’s the earliest New York has hit the 20-win mark since the 2000-01 season, when they achieved the milestone on Jan. 4. 

“I just know that they’re a very good basketball team,” Popovich said. “They’re not a dangerous team; they’re a good team, and there’s a big difference. A lot of teams can be dangerous on a night. But they’re sound. They’re playing their roles, they’re playing together, they’re communicating, and the physicality was impressive. … I’m happy for Mike. He’s had to go through some tough stuff and they’ve obviously turned the corner. They’re obviously going in the right direction.”

D'Antoni's teams have gone in this direction before -- as in, up against the Spurs. Only this time, he came out on top and has something to look forward to.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2011 2:31 pm

Pop congratulates old foe on a beating well done

The Spurs should not feel too bad. The Warriors barely lost to the Knicks by 6. The Knicks will occasionally beat the good's bound to happen. Do I see the Knicks as championship caliber? Of course not! D'Anotni never took the sun to the title game and he surely won't do it here with James "I'm not an idiot although I hired Isiah Thomas as a consultant after I fired him for embarrassing the organization" Dolan meddling. 

Since: Apr 30, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2011 9:43 am

Spurs need smelling salt

The Spurs scored 115 points and LOST!  Don't see that often.  It was a butt-kicking clinic given by NY.  I am a lifelong Spurs fan and it wasn't just bad D by the Spurs.  The Knicks just played an awesome game.  One of the best shooting displays I have seen.

Since: Apr 16, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2011 12:30 am

Pop congratulates old foe on a beating well done

Great game to be at as the Knicks soundly defeated the elite team in the West. One correction "The 115 points were the most San Antonio has allowed in regulation in the era" should read 128 points

Since: Jun 10, 2009
Posted on: January 5, 2011 12:27 am

Pop congratulates old foe on a beating well done

San Antonio allowed 128 points, berger. 

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