The San Antonio Spurs are seventh in the Western Conference with a record of 33-26. However to move up to the elite status, they need to improve on a poor 11-19 record on the road. The chance is there against the New York Knicks, who are 11-47 on the season and a dreadful 4-23 at home. The teams have not met yet this season and San Antonio won both games last season.
New York ranks near the bottom in scoring (26th), points allowed per game (25th) and rebounding (23rd). Surprisingly for a young team, they take care of the ball well, ranked 7th in fewest turnovers. San Antonio is clearly the more balanced team, ranked near the middle of the pack in scoring and points allowed. Although a relatively poor rebounding team, the Spurs make the most of their possessions, ranked second in fewest turnovers.
San Antonio has two top notch scorers in DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. DeRozan is averaging 21.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game, while Aldridge averages 21 points and nine rebounds per game. The Spurs have several players who can hit from long range. Davis Bertans, Byrn Forbers, Rudy Gay and Patty Mills all hit more than 40 percent from beyond the arc, while Marco Belinelli is just under at 39 percent. They will cause match up nightmares for the Knicks.
Tim Hardaway Jr (19.1 points), Enes Kanter (14 points, 10.5 rebounds) are not longer with the Knicks and Emmanuel Mudiay is out with a shoulder injury. Making up for that production is extremely difficult for the young team. Of those currently on the roster, Kevin Knox leads the way at 12.5 points per game. DaAndre Jordan (11.1 points, 11 rebounds), Kadeem Allen (10.1 points, 4.5 assists) and John Jenkins (10.5 points, 2 games) have been solid contributors. However, the Knicks clearly lack star power and have to play the ultimate team game to have a shot at winning.
San Antonio needs to get back on track on the road to have a shot at moving up in the Western Conference seeding. The perfect chance begins with the Knicks. Look for San Antonio to take care of business on the road in a win by more than double digits.