Knicks slip back to .500 after fifth straight loss to Spurs

SAN ANTONIO — The beauty of the NBA, multiple members of the Knicks said Thursday, is the immediate opportunity to erase the bitter taste of a devastating loss.

Of course, such words ring true only when you are able to take advantage of the next opportunity.

Thursday, with starters Jalen Brunson and R. They returned to the .500 mark (18-18) on the season after a 122-115 loss to the Spurs at the AT&T Center.

Julius Randle led the Knicks with a season-high 41 points, Immanuel Quickley had a career-best 36 points and Evan Fournier scored 11 in 17 minutes off the bench, returning to the rotation for the first time since Nov. 13. .

A game after scoring a career-high 33 points, however, Quentin Grimes shot 1-for-10 from the field and finished with nine points.

Julius Randle reacts during the Knicks’ loss to the Spurs.
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Keldon Johnson had 30 points and Romeo Langford had 23 for the Spurs, who had lost five of their last seven games and had the second-worst record (12-23) in the Western Conference.

The Knicks trailed 17 and 13 entering the fourth before Randle’s fifth of six 3-pointers cut the deficit to nine with 8:07 remaining. But Langford’s layup off a Fournier layup and Johnson’s 3-pointer extended San Antonio’s lead to 108-94 with 6:33 left.

Before the game, Derrick Rose said the Knicks enjoyed “a chance to redeem yourself” after blowing a 9-point lead with 35 seconds to play before losing to the Mavericks in overtime, and Luka Doncic had a 60-point triple double.

“That’s it. You have to bounce back,” Tom Thibodeau said. “That’s your basketball character. there are heavy losses, but you have to get through it. The games keep coming.

“Sometimes you’re on the other side. You get a great win and the same thing, you can’t feel too good about it, you just have to get ready for the next game.”

The Knicks have lost five straight.

Still, the absences of Barrett and Brunson have sapped the Knicks of 39.9 points per game, while Brunson also leads the team with an average of 6.6 assists.

That duo and Randle had started every game together before Brunson left Tuesday’s overtime loss at Dallas with Barrett leaving less than two minutes into the first quarter with a cut finger.

“Obviously, you never want to end a game like that, but everything has to go right. [the Mavericks] and wrong for us and it did. But we’ve entered a new day,” Randle said. “It’s one game at a time, I’m only focused on today’s game. We have more than enough guys to come in and step up to do the job. So that’s all I’m worried about.”

Immanuel Quickley dribbles during the Knicks' loss to the Spurs.
Immanuel Quickley dribbles during the Knicks’ loss to the Spurs.

Quickley scored 10 of the Knicks’ 12 points in the first, and Randle had 11 in a row to take a 27-24 lead at one point, but the Spurs closed the opening quarter on a 14-2 run to take a nine-point lead into the second. .

Thibodeau used just eight players after Barrett’s early departure Tuesday night, but Fournier logged three minutes early in the first quarter Wednesday, marking his first action in 23 games since the previous Nov. 13 game.

The 11-year veteran scored seven points in his first half, including a 3-pointer, and Randle finished with 21 as the Knicks trailed 64-53 at halftime.

Quickley’s 3-pointer early in the third period shaved the lead into single digits, but the Spurs made it 17 with three minutes left on Johnson’s 3rd straight before taking a 92-79 lead into the final quarter.


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