NEW YORK: Damyean Dotson scored 27 points and the New York Knicks snapped their franchise-record home losing streak at 18 games with a 130-118 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night.
Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith and Emmanual Mudiay all had 19 points in the Knicks’ first home victory since December 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“It’s major,” guard Smith said. “We’ve been having our fans come out and support every night and haven’t won here since December 1.
“I’m glad that we could get it tonight and just give the fans something to see.”
The NBA win even attracted the attention of the 2019 Oscar presenter Samuel L. Jackson, who pointed out the result during Sunday’s show to Hollywood director Spike Lee before presenting Lee with the Best Adapted Screenplay award.
“The Knicks won tonight. I repeat, the Knicks won tonight,” Jackson said addressing Lee, a Knicks’ megafan.
Smith also had 13 assists and Knox had 10 rebounds, while rookie Mitchell Robinson finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
DeMar DeRozan had 32 points and nine rebounds for the Spurs, who dropped to 1-6 on their road trip that ends Monday against the Brooklyn Nets.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 18 points, but was limited to just 13 minutes through three quarters because of foul trouble.
The Spurs came in as the NBA’s best three-point shooting team but were just six for 24 from behind the arc.
The Knicks led by nine at halftime and then started to seize command in the third quarter to go up by 19 with just over two minutes left in the period.
San Antonio cut it to 94-83 entering the fourth but their troubles continued in the fourth.
Magic beats Raptors
Elsewhere, Terrence Ross torched his former team for a game-high 28 points and centre Nikola Vucevic finished with 23 points and 12 assists as the Orlando Magic beat the Toronto Raptors 113-98.
Ross, who played over four seasons in Toronto, came off the bench to spark the Magic.
“He’s been great,” Vucevic said of Ross. “When he scores for us like that, it just gives us a huge advantage.”
The Magic, who were coming off a disappointing loss to the Chicago Bulls at home on Friday, snapped the Raptors winning streak at seven games.
“This is the part of the season where you’ve got to move forward, no matter what,” Ross said. “You’ve got to make sure that you’re ready to play.”
Ross made nine of 21 shots, including three of eight from three-point range. He equalled his season high with nine rebounds.
The Raptors, who played without star Kawhi Leonard, fell to 44-17 and slid two games behind Milwaukee for the best record in the NBA and the Eastern Conference. Leonard was rested to manage his workload, the Raptors said.
Nuggets over Clippers
Meanwhile, in Denver, Colorado, the Denver Nuggets cruised past the struggling Los Angeles Clippers 123-96 behind strong performances from Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap.
Jokic had 22 points and 16 rebounds, and Millsap had 21 points and 16 boards for the Nuggets, who won their fourth straight.
After leading the charge, Jokic went to the bench two minutes into the third quarter after getting hit with his fourth foul.
Their combined 43 points helped the Nuggets improve to 26-4 at home and pull within a game of the Western Conference-leading Golden State Warriors.
Lou Williams scored 24 and Danilo Gallinari had 19 for the Clippers, who couldn’t capitalize on Denver’s uncharacteristic 22 turnovers and 12 missed free throws because they couldn’t make a basket.
Given NBA teams tendency to now shoot more three-pointers, the Clippers did their part on Sunday but managed to make just three of 24 from beyond the arc.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers wasn’t convinced they lost because of poor shooting.
“I would love to say it was shots missed, I thought they were the tougher team, the more physical team,” he said.