Spurs rally to hand Knicks 8th straight loss

San Antonio 99, Knicks 93, OT
February 8, 2008 7:40:17 PM PST
Michael Finley made the tying 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left in regulation and the San Antonio Spurs dominated overtime Friday night in a 99-93 victory over the New York Knicks, who matched a season high with their eighth straight loss. Tim Duncan had 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Spurs, who trailed by 18 points in the third quarter but barely broke a sweat in OT, scoring the first seven points. Finley finished with 17 points, tossing in another 3 in the extra period for a 95-88 lead against the dispirited Knicks, who missed their seven overtime shots.

Manu Ginobili scored 20 points as San Antonio won its fourth straight and improved to 4-2 on its nine-game road trip, which now moves on to one of its marquee games: a visit to league-leading Boston on Sunday. Robert Horry finished with 13 points, hitting three straight 3-pointers in the second half that wiped away the remainder of the Knicks' lead.

Jamal Crawford had 24 points for the Knicks, who also lost eight straight from Nov. 9-21. Fred Jones scored 19 points and Zach Randolph had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Playing without starting point guard Tony Parker, home resting his injured left ankle, the Spurs got off to a miserable start, but had more than enough at the end.

Finley was wide open for his tying 3-pointer from the corner when Renaldo Balkman inexplicably cheated toward the middle on Ginobili's drive toward the basket - even though the Spurs needed a 3 - then got picked by Duncan and couldn't get back.

The Knicks played without starting forward Quentin Richardson (sprained right ankle) and key reserve Nate Robinson (upper respiratory infection). First-round pick Wilson Chandler, who had played in only seven games - none since Jan. 13 - made his first career start.

The Knicks had wasted a number of second-half leads during their skid, with coach Isiah Thomas saying before the game that had a few plays gone differently, "We could easily be sitting here with a seven-game win streak as opposed to a seven-game losing streak."

The pattern became similar when Horry nailed his third straight 3-pointer, wiping away the remainder of a once-huge lead and putting San Antonio on top 65-62 1½ minutes into the fourth quarter. But after a basket by David Lee, Crawford buried consecutive 3s for a five-point lead with 9:12 left.

Crawford hit another 3 for a nine-point advantage midway through the quarter, and the Knicks seemed safe. But the Spurs charged back again, pulling to 86-85 when Duncan scored inside.

Balkman, shooting 38.6 percent from the foul line on the season, made two free throws with 8.5 seconds to play to make it a three-point game - then committed his defensive gaffe that allowed the Spurs to tie it.

Duncan scored 15 seconds into the extra period, the Knicks kept misfiring, and soon the crowd that cheered most of the game had turned on the home team.

The Knicks led 48-32 at the break, with San Antonio committing two shot clock violations and getting outrebounded by 11 while matching its lowest-scoring half of the season.