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Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013

Knicks deal streaking Spurs convincing loss


NEW YORK — Sometime between Stephen Jackson's sideline stumble and J.R. Smith's soaring slam, the San Antonio Spurs realized this wasn't their night.

News photo
Under the bright lights: Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony attempts a layup while being defended by Spurs forward Tim Duncan on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. New York won 100-83. AP

Too much fatigue and way too much Knicks defense.

Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points, Smith kept up his surge with 20 and New York snapped San Antonio's seven-game winning streak with a 100-83 victory Thursday night.

Steve Novak added 15 points and Tyson Chandler had 10 points and 14 rebounds to help the Knicks bounce back from consecutive losses by dominating the final period against the Spurs, who appeared to run out of gas in their second game in two nights.

"They shot the hell out of it and I could see it wasn't going to happen," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Just too low on fuel and their defense was too good. Bad combination, and then they made shots, which makes it even worse."

Tim Duncan and Tony Parker each had just 11 points for the Spurs, who lost Jackson to an unusual injury, then lost what had been the NBA's longest winning streak.

Jackson played just three minutes off the bench before spraining his right ankle when he took a shot then fell back into a waitress working the sideline in front of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Smith, who had scored 25 points in his last four games as a reserve, highlighted his outing with an acrobatic dunk in the fourth quarter that brought fans to their feet. The lobbed pass came from reserve point guard Pablo Prigioni, who had one of his most complete games since coming to the NBA at age 35, finishing with six points and nine assists.

That meant the Knicks needed just an ordinary game from Anthony, who finished with about half of the season high-tying 45 he scored in a loss against Portland on Tuesday.

"That's their scheme, to try to take me out of the game," Anthony said. "Just a matter of us making shots when we swing the ball, and Novak made shots, J.R. kept his streak alive of playing good basketball, Pablo came in and led our team from the point guard position. Everybody contributed in their own way."

New York put away what had been a close game for three quarters, scoring the first 10 points of the fourth to take a 17-point lead. San Antonio, playing for the fourth time in five nights, went with reserves from there and never put much of a dent in it.

The Spurs, who averaged 111.7 points on 53.4 percent shooting during their winning streak and rang up 117 points on Wednesday in Milwaukee, shot just 36 percent in their lowest-scoring game this season. Gary Neal had a team-high 12 points.

"It wasn't the first time, it's not going to be the last one," San Antonio reserve Manu Ginobili said of the tired performance. "But of course we've got to give them credit because they forced us to not find anything easy, they made us really work."

Timberwolves 101, Nuggets 97

In Denver, J.J. Barea scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter while All-Star forward Kevin Love sat on the bench with a sprained finger, lifting Minnesota to a win over the Nuggets.

The Timberwolves were playing for the second straight night, but fatigue hardly appeared to be a factor as they handed Denver a rare home loss. The Nuggets, on the other hand, looked lethargic two days after snapping the Los Angeles Clippers' 17-game winning streak.

Kosta Koufos and Ty Lawson led Denver with 16 points each.

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