Damyean Dotson scored 27 points and the New York Knicks snapped their franchise-record home losing streak at 18 games with a 130-118 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night.
Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr. and Emmanual Mudiay all had 19 points in the Knicks’ first home victory since Dec. 1 against Milwaukee. Smith had 13 assists and Knox had 10 boards, while rookie Mitchell Robinson finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
DeMar DeRozan had 32 points and nine rebounds for the Spurs, who fell to 1-6 on their trip that ends Monday night in Brooklyn. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 18 points, but was limited to just 13 minutes through three quarters because of foul trouble after his good start.
The Spurs came in as the NBA’s best 3-point shooting team but were just 6 for 24 behind the arc, far too poor to make up for a dismal defensive effort that had the Knicks wearing out the rims with slam dunks and shooting 51 percent.
The Spurs were so off early that they didn’t even make one of their baskets. Knox and Smith both went for the rebound of Aldridge’s miss with no Spurs around and knocked it into the basket, with Aldridge getting credit for the field goal.
The Knicks led by nine at halftime and then started to run the Spurs off the floor in the third quarter. Pushing the pace and getting some easy dunks on lobs, they opened a 90-67 advantage on a 3-pointer by Dotson. The Spurs had to call three timeouts in the period — two at the same time when they couldn’t get the ball in after the first one — and were still down 19 with just over 2 minutes left in the period.
They scored the final eight to cut it to 94-83 entering the fourth, but whenever they seemed to have any momentum, they would throw the ball away, allow an offensive rebound or commit a foul to stall.
Spurs: Coach Gregg Popovich said G Derrick White, recently returned from a heel injury, would play Monday in Brooklyn after sitting out the front end of the back-to-back. … Jacob Poeltl had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Knicks: Coach David Fizdale said G Frank Ntilikina was progressing in his recovery from a sore groin and now able to do some running. … Fizdale was asked if he had considered any different types of techniques to deal with the Knicks’ struggles at home. “Like incense?” he responded.
COACH ON COACH
Popovich coached against Jeff Van Gundy when the Spurs beat the Knicks in the 1999 NBA Finals, and selected him to coach the U.S. team in qualifying games for this summer’s Basketball World Cup, where Popovich will lead the Americans. Popovich praised the work of Van Gundy, who hasn’t been an NBA coach since going 52-30 with Houston in 2006-07.
“He’s better than most of us as a coach. I think most people know that, but that’s not always what gets you hired,” Popovich said. “It’s circumstances and those sorts of things and personal situations, and timing has to be right and all that. But he certainly is somebody who would make a franchise better, without any doubt.”
David Lee sat courtside with his fiance, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. Lee played for both teams, beginning his career with the Knicks in 2005 and playing his final season with the Spurs in 2016-17.
Spurs: At Brooklyn on Monday night.
Knicks: Host Orlando on Tuesday night.