"Remember the Garden!! "
It doesn't quite have the ring or the historical ka ching of "Remember the Alamo" to San Antonians, but it probably carries a current, burning sentiment in the Spurs' lockerroom as they await their rematch with a New York team that ran them off the floor 128-115 in their last meeting. In the Knicks last meeting with San Antonio, arguably the best regular season team in the NBA right now, Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton ran Manu, Duncan and Parker so badly that Coach Pop threw in the white flag well before the game was over and sat his starters down because they played defense like they were sitting down anyway. Undoubtedly, with this game televised on ESPN and the Spurs 8-2 in their last ten games, Pop's boys will be at home with a totally different focus.
Wow, I'm getting scared just writing about it.
Hopefully, our Knicks will be fearless however and ignoring all the rumblings about Melo. In recent games, even with (or because of) the return of Danilo Gallinari to the starting line-up, the Knicks have looked sluggish, tired and unmotivated. They beat the Spurs in a track meet because they played hard for 48 minutes. We will need that effort tonight, for sure.
Once again to help Knicks Fanatics view and enjoy the game with the best intel, we invited our freind Jeff Garcia, of the Project Spurs, to answer a few questions about the squad we will see tonight. In turn, we also answered a few questions for Spurs fans which you can read, here. (I'll apologize in advance to all the Melo-wishers because I didn't give the standard homer answer on the Melo-quiz).
Knicks Fanatics Blog: How would you assess the Spurs at the midway point of the season?
Jeff, Spurs Project: 36-6. What more can I say. Best team in then NBA, seemingly unstoppable, and getting it done without relying heavily on Duncan. There are concerns. Interior defense and lack of size.
The question I have coming into the seconf half of the season is again, peaking too soon. I want this team getting their stride before playoffs and not now in January.
KFB: In our last meeting, the Knicks ran the Spurs so far into the ground that Pops pulled his starters well before the game was over? What was wrong with your squad?
Jeff: I was there to cover the game and got to see that debacle in person from press row. Basically, the Spurs played down to the Knicks. Time after time Knicks' players were waltzing into the lane for easy baskets and their defense was lacking. They just didn't bring it. Poor shot selection, lackadaisical attitude cost the Spurs a win.
KFB: What will the Spurs do differently tonight to avoid giving up by half-time?
Jeff: They must clamp down on defense. Against this Knick team, transition defense, interior defense are all key. Also have the right mentality. Do not take this Knicks team lightly. New York is good.
KFB: What should Knicks fans look for in tonight's game?
Jeff: Knicks fans should keep on eye on Gary Neal. He might be the key for the Spurs tonight. We all heard the story, undrafted, Summer League gem, and now a reliable player off the bench for the Spurs. However, against the Knicks he must be that spark off the bench for the Spurs should San Antonio come out flat again.