Starting 5: Knicks 3-point barrage, Spurs revenge, & Philly can’t close out


Every morning, we’ll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1: Steve Novak just hit another 3

No team had ever hit more than 18 three’s against the Boston Celtics.  New York hit 19 last night. 

No player had hit seven three’s against Boston since Kobe Bryant did it in 2007.  Steve Novak and J.R. Smith both did it off the bench last night.

The New York Knicks attempted 32 three’s (hitting 19) and shot a higher percentage from deep (59.4%) than they did on their 42 two-point shots (54.8%).  

Get the point?  The Knicks beating the Celtics was almost secondary to 3-point barrage from Smith (7-10 from 3) & Novak (8-10 from 3).  Some were wide open, some were contested, some were ridiculous.  Novak took nothing but threes.  Smith was 1-6 from inside the arc.  If you missed the game, just find the second quarter where Smith hit five three’s, and the fourth where Novak buried Boston with four more to see how nuts it was.

2:  Revenge is a dish best served small

Last week, the Lakers went into San Antonio and decimated the Spurs with their big men.  Last night, the Spurs went into Los Angeles and got their revenge by ditching their plan to match LA’s height and instead going with a smaller, more athletic team that ran the Lakers off the floor. 

Gregg Popovich started with a bigger lineup featuring Tiago Splitter, but he ditched that half way through the first quarter and went a different route.  His Spurs went a little smaller, move a little faster, and started to run away with the game

“The tempo was in their favor,” Lakers coach Mike Brown said. “They sped us up, and we did not look like we had — nor did we try — to get control of the game. We got out of character a bit of the way we’ve been playing lately. You have to give the Spurs credit.”

So perhaps the best way for the Spurs to counter a team with size is to go small and run.  They have the personnel and the depth, plus a good mix of youth and a Tony Parker who is playing extremely well.  It might just be the recipe for success in San Antonio.


Tim Duncan’s turn-back-the clock poster


Dahntay Jones with a monster follow over everybody

The Knicks didn’t just rain 3’s down on Boston

4:  Line of the Night:  Carmelo Anthony – 35 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists

The Knicks and Anthony spoiled a vintage 43 point performance (the only 40+ point performance of the Big 3 era for Boston).  With all the attention paid on the threes, the source of them. Seven of Melo’s 10 dimes resulted in a three pointer.  Anthony came out strong for the Knicks in the first (12 points) and third (10), and then chipped in in the second and fourth as the C’s strained their necks watching long range shots go in.  The win moved the Knicks alone into the seventh seed, a full game ahead of Philadelphia.

5:  You can quote me on that

“It went just as well for us as it went for them in San Antonio.  The Lakers had the kind of night we had back home when they destroyed us. So we had a good night, and we still caught a break: I looked hard, but I didn’t see Kobe anywhere. I think that helped us a little bit.”
     -Spurs coach Gregg Popovich 

“Eventually, you have to win some of those games. There are two things we haven’t done this year: win close games and get to the free throw line. To me those are two areas that stand out. To me, both those are physical and mental toughness. Closing out games is mental toughness; getting to the free throw line [is] physical toughness; and we have not done a good job all season long in those two areas. And it’s not like as a coach I don’t talk about it all the time.”
    -Sixers coach Doug Collins, on the Sixers inability to win close games 

“We panicked.  We trapped too early. We were doing things that we shouldn’t have done. It happens. We talked about it at halftime. I thought we were better at it and then we did it again in the fourth quarter out of nowhere. Good lesson though. I told our guys it was a really good lesson for us: Don’t overreact to one great player and I thought we did that.”
     -Celtics coach Doc Rivers, on why the Knicks were able to hit so many 3’s