These nicks do not stop impressing with their patience and flexibility.
Returning to the Garden after an 11-day road trip, and one of its top performers, Derrick Rose, with a sprained ankle, during the third quarter disaster on Thursday, the Knicks fell behind the Spurs by 17 points.
But up to the plate was stepped by Alec Burke, who made his comeback from a three-game absence with a knee injury and buoyed the knee with a 102–98 return.
Burke, who recently missed eight games with COVID-19, scored a season-high 30 points, and RJ Barrett warmed up on the comeback, scoring 24 points after his eight-point dud in Los Angeles Hitting six straight shots at a time to finish. On Tuesday against the Lakers
This kept the Knicks’ hopes alive for the fourth seeds and home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs, although they do not control their fate with two games to go.
With fourth-place wins over Atlanta and Miami in routs on Thursday, the Knicks were half a game behind the Hawks and in a statistical tie for fifth with Miami. But the Heat own the tiebreaker.
If the season ends today, the sixth-seeded Knicks (39-31) will face the third-seeded Bucks. But there are still two games.
Julius Randall was awarded the NBA Player of the Month Award for April, featuring the Knicks front office of Leon Rose, William Wesley and Scott Perry. Perry signed Randall as a free agent in 2019.
Randall jumped 14 points in the first quarter and finished with 25, but appeared to hurt his finger late in the game.
The Spurs scored 14–0 to start the second half and looked ready to take out the tired-looking Knicks.
But the Barretts responded unabated, thanks to the fire of Barrett and Randall, and closed out the third quarter on a 15-2 run to draw within four points and take control in the fourth quarter.
It also came into the final possession after a three-point run by Kelden Johnson, a driving layup and foul, to make it a one-point Spurs deficit with 10 seconds remaining. Berks was intentionally fouled and scored a clinching free throw to put the Knicks up three with 7.7 seconds left.
Legendary Spurs coach Greg Popovich kudos to Tom Thibodo for breaking the Nucks’ seven-season playoff drought after ending Minnesota’s 14-year playoff drought. Popovich, who lives with Thibodo on Team America’s staff, claimed to be completely insecure.
“People who knew him were laughing with great respect,” Popovich said. “You knew it was going to happen. He was going to grab that group and challenge them and hold them responsible. It just makes you smile because you knew it was going to happen. Like night comes after day. He went and did it again. We are thrilled for him. He has made it a winning culture. He has been fantastic. “
Nux survived despite another bad night by starting point guard Alfred Peyton, who was scorched in 14 minutes.