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Spurs top Knicks by 31 points

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- The San Antonio Spurs ran their system of pick-and-rolls and constant movement to near perfection Sunday afternoon.

In doing so, they knocked off the New York Knicks 120-89 at Madison Square Garden.

San Antonio (6-1) shot a season-best 54 percent (41 of 76) from the field, placing five players in double-figures and creating 22 assists.

The 31-point loss was the 10th time the Knicks have lost by 30 or more points at Madison Square Garden.

The Spurs made a season-high 12 shots from beyond the arc in claiming their fourth straight win. Their previous 3-point high was 11 against the Memphis Grizzlies on Oct. 30.

Small forward Danny Green led the long-range barrage, making six of his nine 3-pointers in leading San Antonio with his season-high 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Guard Tony Parker contributed 17 points and six assists.

Forward Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points and guard Patty Mills scored 15 points off the Spurs' bench. Power forward Tim Duncan recorded his first double-double of the season, scoring 11 points and securing 10 rebounds.

"It makes it easy to be successful offensively for guys like myself who do not need or are not as capable of creating my own shot," Green said of the Spurs' sets that are designed to create mismatches. "Just move around, spot up and play good defense and I'll get open shots because they move the ball so well."

Forward Carmelo Anthony and center Andrea Bargnani topped the Knicks (3-3) with 16 points apiece.

The Knicks were without center Tyson Chandler for the second straight game. He is expected to miss four to six weeks with a non-displaced fracture of the right fibula.

San Antonio took advantage of the void in the pivot, outrebounding the Knicks, 51-33.

New York did receive a bit of welcome news with the return of guard J.R. Smith. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year was suspended for the season's first five games for violating the NBA's anti-drug program. Smith was New York's second-leading scorer last season at 18.1 points per game and averaged 33.5 minutes.

Smith made his debut with 7:02 remaining in the first quarter. He looked rusty, committing four turnovers and making just one of his nine shots in 20:33.

Green scored 13 points, nine from beyond the arc, in the third quarter when the Spurs pulled away 90-60.

"We just do what we do, the same thing we've done for the past 13 years," said Parker, the Spurs floor leader. "The ball movement was great today."

By halftime, three Spurs players had already scored in double figures. Parker (12), Leonard (12) and Green (11) combined for 35 points in San Antonio's 61-45 lead. It was the most points San Antonio scored in the first half this season.

"I haven't watched many games like that," said Knicks coach Mike Woodson. "We didn't compete today and that's just not acceptable.

"Right from the start we let our offense shoot shots that we missed and that dictated how we defended on the other end."

The Spurs scored their most points in the first quarter this season, grabbing a 35-17 advantage while shooting 72 percent (13 of 18) from the field.

San Antonio was quick out of the gate, taking an early 21-4 lead with 5:51 left in the first quarter. Parker accumulated eight of those points as the Knicks missed their first five shots.

"It was embarrassing for us to come out and lose a game on our home court like this," Anthony said. "We didn't compete today and it showed."

With the Spurs playing their fifth game in seven days Monday in Philadelphia, the lopsided victory enabled Spurs coach Greg Popovich to rest his starters. Nobody played more than 26 minutes on Sunday.

Notes: Knicks F Carmelo Anthony has scored 60 points over the last two games after totaling 63 through the first three. ... Knicks C Cole Aldrich saw his most significant playing time of the season, scoring two points in eight minutes. ...Spurs G Matt Bonner missed his third straight game due to tightness in his left calf. ... The Spurs are one of three teams, joining the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets, to not have a rookie on their opening-night roster. ... G Tony Parker and F Tim Duncan have played 822 games together, the most of any current teammates.
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