(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Knicks get a gigantic piece of their
rotation back on Sunday afternoon when they welcome the San Antonio Spurs to
Madison Square Garden.
J.R. Smith, the NBA's reigning Sixth Man of the Year, is eligible to play
Sunday after sitting the first five games of the season due to a suspension
consistent with a failed drug test.
New York is 25th in the NBA in scoring at 93.8 ppg, so Smith, who averaged
18.1 ppg last season, should help immediately. Smith underwent left knee
surgery in July.
Smith's reappearance should offset some of the blow caused by Tyson Chandler's
absence. Chandler has a small non-displaced fracture of his right fibula and
will be out four-to-six weeks.
Actually, the player who best replaced Chandler in Friday's 101-91 road win in
Charlotte was Andrea Bargnani. The new member of the Knicks slid over to the
starting center spot and scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Carmelo Anthony led the way with 28 points and Raymond Felton chipped in 15
The Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak with the win over a familiar
face. Patrick Ewing served as Charlotte's head coach on Friday while Steve
Clifford, the Bobcats' head man, was in the hospital, and later underwent a
small heart procedure.
"We finally put a 48-minute ballgame together," said coach Mike Woodson.
The Spurs won their third game in a row Friday night with a 76-74 home victory
over the Golden State Warriors. Tony Parker scored the last seven points for
the Spurs, who moved to the top of the Western Conference with the win.
"We certainly couldn't put it in the basket, so the defense was really
important tonight," said head coach Gregg Popovich. "It was an ugly game
offensively. We were fortunate, anybody could've won that game."
Maybe, but the Spurs did win thanks to 18 points from Parker and 13 from Kawhi
Leonard. No other San Antonio player scored in double figures, but all nine
other Spurs who played managed to score.
Popovich was right about the poor offense, although the Warriors had an
excuse. Steph Curry missed the game with a bone bruise on his ankle and the
Warriors out-shot the Spurs in field-goal percentage, 3-point percentage and
free-throw percentage. Golden State out-rebounded the Spurs, but San Antonio
forced 20 turnovers and scored 20 points off of those miscues.
Sunday's afternoon tilt starts a two-game eastern trip. The Spurs visit
Philadelphia on Monday night after two home games. San Antonio already visited
the west coast earlier this season.
The Knicks swept both games last season against the Spurs and New York has won
three of its last four against San Antonio in Madison Square Garden.
The Sports Network