Slumping Spurs aim to stop skid vs. Knicks

The San Antonio Spurs have lost eight straight games for the first time since 1996-97, a skid that actually predated Gregg Popovich as the team's head coach.

The Spurs aim to put a stop to their losing ways on Saturday when they conclude their four-game road trip against the New York Knicks.

DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points and Rudy Gay recorded 17 of his 22 points in the first half on Friday as San Antonio dropped a 115-104 decision in Philadelphia.

DeRozan has scored 96 points on 35-of-56 shooting from the floor over his last three games for the Spurs, who have struggled to overcome sluggish starts this season.

"It's the story of our season thus far. It's really tough starts and then having to claw our way back in games. It's tough to do, especially on the road," Popovich said. "... We're just trying to not make as many mistakes, mostly at the defensive end. It always puts us in a bad way. We're working at it."

Unfortunately for Popovich and company, if they don't find a solution relatively fast, their string of 22 consecutive postseason berths will come to an end. That mark serves as the longest active streak in North American professional sports.

New York coach David Fizdale is keeping his guard up against San Antonio, and for good reason.

"Wounded animal and those are the most dangerous," Fizdale said, per Newsday. "They're still the Spurs to us. I don't think we have that luxury to look at any team any other way but with respect."

Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. agreed.

"It's crazy. Thinking about it, hearing it," Smith Jr. said of the Spurs' skid. "It's actually hard to believe. But you know, it happens. It happens to the best of them. We're just worried about getting our win versus them (on Saturday) and that's what's important."

If one is looking for positives for San Antonio, well, it posted the seventh win in its last 10 encounters with New York in a 120-111 season-opening victory on Oct. 23.

Marcus Morris scored 26 points in that contest, all the while getting booed by Spurs fans at AT&T Center after he backed out of a verbal agreement with the team to sign with the Knicks in July.

Morris highlighted his 22-point, 13-rebound performance with four 3-pointers in Wednesday's 109-104 setback to the 76ers.

Taj Gibson has provided a jolt with his offense and has served as a mentor to Mitchell Robinson since signing a one-year, $10 million deal in the offseason.

"He does give that starting lineup a sense of stability," Fizdale said of the 34-year-old Gibson. "He's also been fantastic for Mitch. That relationship has been worthwhile."

Gibson said he has no issues keeping the seat warm for Robinson, New York's second-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

"I'm doing what the team needs and it's needed now (starting), but it's Mitch's seat," Gibson told The New York Post. "I'm just keeping it warm for him. I work out with him every day. Just trying to get him better every day. I'm doing what the team needs and being the veteran."

--Field Level Media
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