Knicks Battle Champs

Even though his team continues to struggle, New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas spoke recently about wanting to leave a "championship legacy" when he's done coaching.

He'll get a close look at the modern-day blueprint Friday when his Knicks visit the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made San Antonio –12.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 186.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 75% of bets for this game have been placed on San Antonio –12.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

San Antonio won its first NBA championship in 1999, defeating the Knicks in five games in the finals. Since that series, the Spurs are 487-199 in the regular season and have won three more titles. New York, meanwhile, has gone 301-385 and now appears headed to its seventh consecutive losing season.

The Knicks (8-22) have dropped five straight games - their third losing streak this season of at least that length. Wednesday's 107-97 home loss to Sacramento was New York's league-high 15th defeat by double-digits.

Nonetheless, Thomas said he still believes his club is capable of a championship.

"I know people will laugh even more at me, but I'm hell bent on getting this accomplished and making sure that we get it done,'' said Thomas, who is 41-71 as New York's head coach. "And I'm not leaving until we get it done.''

His team appeared far from getting it done Wednesday, falling behind by as many as 23 points to an injury-riddled Sacramento team. Forward Zach Randolph, the Knicks' second-leading scorer with 17.7 points per game, was ejected in the third quarter for tossing his headband at a referee who called him for a foul.

"There's a refusal to come together and play collectively,'' Thomas said. "We do it in spurts, but then we sit back and we watch. Just somehow got to push through this and get them playing together as a group, because individually they do have talent.''

The Knicks are 1-11 on the road, where they've been outscored by 12.1 points per game.

The Spurs (21-9) started the season 17-3, looking much like the team that won 16 of its 20 playoff games a season ago en route to its second title in three years.

They're just 4-6 since then, though, and have failed to reach 80 points in their past two losses, including an 80-77 defeat at Denver on Thursday night. San Antonio led by four in the final two minutes, but the Nuggets scored the last seven points.

"It came down to us turning the ball over in rotations," said Spurs star Tim Duncan, who had 20 points but shot just 7-for-20 from the floor. "A lot of it down the stretch was my fault. I'll take a lot of responsibility for it.''

Injuries have played a part in San Antonio's struggles. Manu Ginobili has missed the last four games with a sprained index finger and Tony Parker and Duncan missed four games apiece in December. The Spurs haven't had their three leading scorers healthy for an entire game since a 106-91 win at Minnesota on Nov. 30.

Duncan has averaged 21.6 points and 11.8 rebounds in his career against the Knicks. The Spurs have won seven of their last eight games versus New York.

By: Marc Young - - Email Us

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