Spurs beat Knicks, Popovich alone in 5th for coaching wins
New York Knicks center Kyle O'Quinn (9) looks to shoot against San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge scored 29 points, Kawhi Leonard had a season-high 25 and the San Antonio Spurs beat the New York Knicks 100-91 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time) to give Gregg Popovich sole possession of fifth place on the NBA’s coaching wins list.
Manu Ginobili finished with 12 points — three of them coming on what appeared to be a pass that went into the basket without everyone noticing.
Popovich has 1,176 victories, all with the Spurs. The five-time champion broke a tie with his friend George Karl.
The Spurs beat the Knicks for the second time in six days and won for the fourth time in five games. They beat New York 119-107 on Dec. 28 (Dec. 29, PHL time).
Michael Beasley had 18 points for the Knicks, who were playing one of just four home games this month. They play 12 times on the road.
Kristaps Porzingis shot just 5-for-19 and was one of three Knicks to finish with 13 points.
The Knicks led 29-25 after one quarter but couldn’t break 20 points in either of the next two. The Spurs began to pull away midway through the third and ended the period with the game’s most bizarre basket.
Ginobili appeared to be attempting a lob pass from beyond the three-point line to Aldridge, but the pass went over his head. Michael Beasley grabbed it and began dribbling up the court as Ginobili and other Spurs waved frantically to the officials that the ball had actually gone into the basket.
Referees eventually credited the basket to Ginobili — but only for two points. The basket was reviewed after the quarter ended and counted as a three-pointer, giving San Antonio an 81-67 lead.
Leonard played 30 minutes for the first time this season. It was just his seventh game after his return from a quadriceps injury. He shot 8-for-20 and grabbed eight rebounds.
Spurs: Leonard missed his first five three-point attempts, and then made his final three. ... Pau Gasol had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Knicks: G Ron Baker missed the game because of a broken left orbital bone sustained when he was hit in the face trying to stop Anthony Davis’ drive to the basket in New York’s victory at New Orleans on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Coach Jeff Hornacek said Baker took part in the non-contact portion of practice Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) but the mask he was fitted for to wear in games wasn’t available yet. ... The Knicks have dropped six straight against their next opponent, the Washington Wizards.
Spurs: Visit Philadelphia on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time).
Knicks: Visit Washington on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time).