Spurs vs. Knicks: Will Atlantic Division Domination Continue?
The San Antonio Spurs once again take on a team from New York tonight, and once again they get them at home. On this occasion, they get the same Knicks team San Antonio hammered by 31 points in early November. Back is Carmelo Anthony, who will be playing for the first time since December 23, when he injured his ankle against the Orlando Magic. Still, this is a team in shambles that is either missing several key rotation players or getting subpar performances from the ones that are healthy.
Meanwhile, the Spurs may struggle against the top five or six teams in the league, but the Knicks and the rest of the Atlantic Division are far from that. Through six games against the NBA’s worst division, the San Antonio beat the Knicks, Nets, Raptors, Celtics and 76ers by an average of 19 points. Right now, the division appears to be the Spurs elixir for whatever is ailing them. Yes, the defense has been maddeningly inconsistent in recent weeks, but it seems like the Atlantic Division teams bring out the best in the Spurs offense. They help get guys like Danny Green and Marco Belinelli out of funks. It gets guys like Tim Duncan and Tony Parker a little extra rest.
Still, there’s the issue of the Spurs defense, which hasn’t been great over the last couple of weeks. Before holding the Nets to 92 Wednesday, the Spurs hadn’t held a team under 99 points since December 14 against the Utah Jazz. It’s games like this where the Spurs can work on tightening up their rotations. According to ESPN New York, point guards Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni aren’t expected to play, which means you’re going to see a lot of former Spur Beno Udrih at point. But really, this means we’re going to be exposed to a Carmelo Anthony-heavy offense (as usual).
This game should be an example of what a lot of January games are about for the Spurs. A chance to get better, pad its record and get that rotation right for a Rodeo Road Trip that is now about a month away.