The surging San Antonio Spurs remained spotless at home but it wasn’t easy.
Kawhi Leonard had 19 points and 12 rebounds as the Spurs escaped the stubborn New York Knicks 100-99 on Friday for their 31 straight win at the AT&T Centre, 22 of them this season.
The Spurs had beaten their last four opponents at home by an average of 18 points before being put to their toughest test by the Knicks, who were riding a four-game winning streak.
“I was kind of enjoying them, it’s not bad to win games like that,” said Manu Ginobili, who finished with 16 points off the bench.
“Nothing is easy in the NBA and we knew facing the Knicks that they were playing great and we had to play much better to get this win. And I think we did.”
Frenchman Tony Parker and LaMarcus Aldridge also had 16 points apiece in the sixth straight win for San Antonio (32-6).
Latvian rookie Kristaps Porzingis had 28 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks (18-20) while Carmelo Anthony netted 20 points on just 5-of-15 shooting along with 12 boards.
“It’s tough to win here but I thought we could get it,” Anthony said. “We played well in spurts and still had a shot to win the game. I’ll take a loss like this any day.”
The Knicks trailed by 12 with 5:20 but an 18-7 run capped by Arron Afflalo’s 3-pointer pulled them to within 98-97 with 49 seconds left.
After a Parker layup, Porzingis threw down an alley-oop dunk at the other end.
The Knicks got the ball back when Langston Galloway grabbed Parker’s missed 20-foot jumper and sent it over to Anthony.
Bottled up by three Spurs defenders, Anthony found Jose Calderon in the left corner. The Spaniard launched his potential game-winning three-pointer jumper from the left corner over the late-arriving Ginobili but it bounced off the rim as time expired.
“He wasn’t able to get off a shot so he passed the ball to me. That’s what good teammates do,” Calderon said. “I shot it too high and missed it.”
Ginobili said: “Once that ball left his hand it was going straight in. But he missed it.”
lGolden State Warriors 128, Portland Trail Blazers 108: Klay Thompson scored 36 points, Stephen Curry added 26 with nine assists through three quarters despite a bruised left shin, and the visiting Warriors (34-2) rolled the Trail Blazers (16-24) despite Damian Lillard’s season-high 40-point effort.
The Warriors’ Draymond Green finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his league-leading eighth triple-double of the season.
lToronto Raptors 97, Washington Wizards 88: DeMar DeRozan dropped in a season-high 35 points, Kyle Lowry added 21 with 10 assists, and the visiting Raptors (23-15) sent the Wizards (15-19) to their fifth loss in six games.
lOrlando Magic 83, Brooklyn Nets 77: Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic each tossed in 20 points, and the Magic (20-17) snapped a four-game slide while handing the Nets (10-26) a ninth consecutive home loss.
lCleveland Cavaliers 125, Minnesota Timberwolves 99: JR Smith scored a season-high 27 points, Iman Shumpert added 23 off the bench, and the visiting Cavs (25-9) rolled to their sixth straight win, while sending the T-Wolves to a fifth consecutive loss despite a game-high 35 by Andrew Wiggins.
lMemphis Grizzlies 91, Denver Nuggets 84: Zach Randolph scored 24 points and Mario Chalmers made a pair of triples in the final 90 seconds, helping the Grizzlies (20-18) beat the visiting Nuggets (13-24).
lIndiana Pacers 91, New Orleans Pelicans 86: Ian Mahinmi had 17 points with 10 rebounds as the visiting Pacers (21-15) beat the struggling Pelicans for the ninth straight time and lost all-star star forward Anthony Davis to a lower back bruise early in the game. Tyreke Evans scored 27 for New Orleans (11-24) who have lost of their last five games.
lMiami Heat 103, Phoenix Suns 95: Dwyane Wade scored 27 points and Slovenian Goran Dragic added 22 against his former team as the visiting Heat (22-14) sent the Suns (13-26) to their 10th loss in the last 11 games.
lMilwaukee Bucks 96, Dallas Mavericks 95: Khris Middleton scored 27 points, including a driving layup with nine seconds left and the Bucks (15-23) held off the visiting Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki had 20 points for Dallas (21-16), which had a shot at the win but Deron Williams missed a jumper at the buzzer.
lOklahoma City Thunder 117, LA Lakers 113: Russell Westbrook had 36 points and 12 rebounds while Kevin Durant netted 24 as the visiting Thunder (26-11) withstood Lou Williams’ career-high 44-point effort to beat the Lakers for the seventh straight time. Kobe Bryant had 19 points for the West-worst Lakers (8-30) but missed a potential game-tying shot with four seconds left.
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