Knicks Start Second Half Off With A Rousing Win Over Spurs

Published on: 20th February, 2009

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New York — Nate Robinson, the diminutive guard of the New York Knicks, extended his own version of PeeWee’s Big Adventure tonight at Madison Square Garden with his third consecutive 30+ point game as the Knicks defeated the San Antonio Spurs in overtime, 112-107. Robinson hit for 12 of his points in the fourth quarter and then added another six points in the extra five minute period to lead the Knicks to the upset win over a Spurs team that has been playing very well.

The 5’7″ Robinson, fresh off his NBA All-Star weekend in which he won the Slam Dunk contest in an exciting head-to-head with another freakish athlete, Dwight Howard, continued his prolific scoring and overall floor game for the Knicks as he finished tonight with 32 points and 10 rebounds to go along with 3 assists.

Before that, in the Knicks final game before the All-Star break, Robinson played one of those dream games that statistically astound. Against the Los Angeles Clippers on February 11th, he hit for 33 points, 15 assists, and 9 rebounds.

This kid has been filling up the stat sheet in his last five games, averaging over 25 ppg., six assists and six rebounds per game, while shooting 50% from the field.

Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni has been impressed by his little wonderkind of a guard.

“He’s been playing extremely well, we kind of expect that out of him every night,” D’Antoni said. “The best thing about Nate is that he could get a shot anytime he wants, and the worst thing about hin is that he could get a shot anytime he wants, too.”

That brought lots of laughter in the post-game press room where D’Antoni holds his press conferences, a sound that has not been emanating from D’Antoni post-games since the Knicks went on a six game losing streak, which they broke tonight.

“Tonight’s game is a significant win because we played well not only because we beat a good team but because we played well,” added D’Antoni. “I thought we played well even in our six consecutive losses coming into tonight but it’s good to come out of it with a win.”

As usual, Tim Duncan did what he seemingly does every night with a workmanlike 26 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks.

“We try to mix it up on Tim Duncan with different defensive alignments,” said D’Antoni. “Nobody has invented a way to stop Tim Duncan and nobody ever will.”

David Lee, undersized at 6’9″, 255 pounds, had to guard the 7 foot, 270 Duncan most of the game. Sometimes, it just seemed unfair to Lee.

“That’s one of the best power forwards to ever play the game,” Lee said. “He did good job down low and I got into foul trouble. At that point, I couldn’t get into him as much as I had before and he was just able to score over the top.”

Robinson, who has had the reputation of being erratic enough to both giveth and taketh away wins because of questionable on-court decision making and not being the most “heady” of players, was funny in the locker room afterwards. Marc Berman of the New York asked him if he played well tonight from the momentum of his big adventure in Phoenix, considering Robinson had gotten very little rest over the past three days. Robinson told Berman it was somewhat “tiring after all the hoopla of All-Star weekend, hanging with celebrities till late hours but when the weekend ended, he added, “it’s time to go back to the class room, back to the books.” Never has Nate Robinson seemed quite so “studious” since he’s been a Knick as he did at that moment.

A moment later, Robinson was asked by another reporter what the name of the play was that had been called for him to run late in the overtime period to put the Knicks ahead by two points. Robinson, ever the student, forgot the name of the play. Back to school for Nate, indeed.

Notes: The Knicks finally broke through against an NBA power, having dropped all three on a homestand against the Lakers, Cavaliers and Celtics in the first week of February.

The Spurs were without Manu Ginobli, who was back in San Antonio getting further tests on his sore right ankle. It’s not the same one the star reserve had surgery on last summer, forcing him to miss the first 12 games of the season, but coach Gregg Popovich acknowledged being concerned the pain didn’t go away during the All-Star break.

It was Robinson’s third straight game leading the Knicks in scoring, with 30 or more points in all of them. He’s still best known for his two slam dunk titles, the latter won Saturday when he donned a green uniform and called himself Krypto-Nate to knock off Howard, who wore a Superman cape for the second straight year.

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