Lyles, Murray lead Spurs to victory, snapping Knicks’ streak
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — San Antonio has discovered its depth amid the injuries and health problems that have plagued the team all season.
Lyles is the ninth player to lead San Antonio in scoring this season, tying Memphis for most in the league. The Spurs have needed that depth with Derrick White, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay and Keldon Johnson among those missing time with injuries or due to health and safety protocols for COVID-19.
“I think it just goes to show Coach that we have a lot of depth,” Lyles said. “We’re able to play guys that usually aren’t playing, but they’re ready. Just goes to show that we stay prepared in the gym and are ready for the moment.”
San Antonio had eight players score at least eight points, with Patty Mills and Luka Samanic each adding 14 points in the Spurs’ seventh straight home victory over New York.
The Knicks had won seven of nine entering Tuesday’s game, but were never able to find a consistent rhythm in its most lopsided loss of the season.
“You get what you deserve,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said.
New York had 16 turnovers while failing to score 100 points for the first time since a 107-89 loss at Orlando on Feb. 17.
“I think it was an impressive win on a back-to-back,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.
Coming off a 124-113 overtime loss to Brooklyn on Monday night, San Antonio got off to a slow start but was aided by New York’s own troubles.
The Knicks committed four turnovers in the opening six minutes, but the game remained close as the Spurs labored to hit open looks.
“Obviously, we didn’t play our best,” Thibodeau said. “When you’re on the road, you got to play well for 48 minutes. We didn’t do that.”
San Antonio eventually found its touch, with seven players making at least one 3-pointer. The Spurs finished 18 for 42 on 3-pointers, with Lyles shooting 4 for 6 and Mills going 4 for 8. Samanic was 3 for 5 in scoring his season-high point total.
After averaging less than three minutes in the first two months of the season, Samanic is averaging 17.5 minutes in the past four games as the team has been without Aldridge and Gay.
Keldon Johnson had nine points in his return after having not played since Feb. 14 due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
The Spurs are still without Gay, White and Devin Vassell, who were also following the league’s mandates for COVID-19.
Aldridge sat out with a stomach ailment.
Knicks: Randle was selected to participate in the league’s Skills Challenge on Sunday in Atlanta prior to making his All-Star debut that evening. … The Knicks have not won in San Antonio since Jan. 2, 2014. Carmelo Anthony had 27 points and 12 rebounds as the Knicks held on for a 105-101 victory over a Spurs team that would its fifth NBA title later that year.
Spurs: Popovich said he expects Gay, White and Vassell to return after this weekend’s All-Star Game, but all three sat in the back row of San Antonio’s bench during the game. … Popovich said Aldridge began feeling sick during Monday night’s overtime loss to Brooklyn and grew worse as the evening progressed. … Johnson played 11 minutes in his return. “This is just a little small workout for him,” Popovich said. “He’s not going to be out there competing for very, very long.”
Knicks: Host Detroit Pistons on Thursday.
Spurs: Host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.