Game Recap: Knicks Outlast Spurs in Madison Square Garden.

The San Antonio Spurs shoot 36% from the field and lose a closely contested game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

The Spurs came into this game with a record of 41-12, coming off two straight road wins. The Knicks came into this game with a record of 22-33, coming off four straight home losses.

As I mentioned earlier today, the Spurs had advantages over the Knicks on both ends of the floor, and were heavily favored to win this game. The only disadvantage? Desperation.

The Knicks have been steadily declining in recent weeks, both on and off-the-court. After losing the first four games of their five game home stand, the Knicks came out with one of their best all-around performances of the season.

Despite giving up 21 offensive rebounds and committing 19 turnovers, the Knicks pulled out this win because they shot 50% from the field, and 64% from beyond the arc, a season-high.

The Spurs had one of their worst shooting nights of the season, shooting 36% from the field, and just 20% from beyond the arc, a season-low. This is highly uncharacteristic as the Spurs came into this game as the number one three point shooting percentage team in the NBA at .408%.

Danny Green shot 2-of-13 from the field, including 2-of-10 from beyond the arc. Green had a golden opportunity down four points late in the game to cut the deficit to one point. Unfortunately, like most of the game, Green was unable to connect.

LaMarcus Aldridge also shot poorly from the field, scoring 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting to go along with his 10 rebounds. Although he was unable to hit jump shots he usually makes, Aldridge has had a double-double in four straight games.

There was a bright side to the Spurs loss today – and his name is Kawhi Leonard. In 35 minutes, Leonard scored 36 points on 13-of-27 shooting, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals.

With his 36 points, Leonard has 18 30-point games this season, the most in the NBA. He also has three straight games with 30+ points, a great sign for Spurs fans.

Leonard has turned himself into arguably the best two-way player in the NBA.

His ability to knock down shots with his back-to-the-basket in conjunction with efficient three point shooting has made him a superstar. Not to mention, when the game is on the line, Leonard is asked to guard the opposing team’s best player.

If Russel Westbrook, James Harden and Isaiah Thomas weren’t having such stellar seasons, Leonard would be in prime position to win both MVP and DPOY in the same season.

With that being said, it’s safe to say that Gregg Popovich would like to see some more contributions from Leonard’s teammates. While it’s great knowing Leonard can put up those kind of numbers, he shouldn’t be asked to do so every night.

Granted, the injury to Pau Gasol has hurt the Spurs, especially offensively. However, Aldridge has to find ways to be more consistent on the offensive end, and help alleviate the scoring load.

In wins, Aldridge averages 17.9 points on 50% shooting. In losses, Aldridge averages 15.7 points on 41% shooting. In his last 10 games, Aldridge is shooting 38% from the field.

Although the Spurs faithful aren’t happy with this loss against an inferior team, the adjustments are quite simple – shoot the ball better.

Give credit to the Knicks defense, who played significantly better than most anticipated, considering they had just let the Denver Nuggets score 131 points on Friday night.

However, the Spurs had good looks all night. Green was 2/13, Aldridge was 5/16, Tony Parker was 0/3, Manu Ginobli was 2/9, and Patty Mills was 3/8. On most nights, the Spurs will not shoot 36% from the field and 20% from beyond the arc.

Despite the loss, the Spurs are still 41-13, the second best record in the NBA. The Spurs will travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers tomorrow night, and travel to Orlando to take on the Magic on Wednesday night before having nine days off because of all-star weekend.

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Look for the Spurs to bounce back tomorrow in Indiana versus the Pacers at 6:00pm CT.

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