A noon tip-off time for Sunday’s game in New York between the Spurs and the Knicks is far from normal by NBA standards, but it’s beginning to appear as though we might be able to count on performances like the one we saw from the home team in this one.
San Antonio was ready from the start, while the Knicks never did seem to rise to the occasion.
The Spurs led by as many as 37 points before settling for a 120-89 victory that was as lopsided statistically as it was on the scoreboard. San Antonio shot almost 54 percent from the field while holding the Knicks under 38 percent, and beat New York on the glass by a 51-33 margin.
Afterward, the Knicks weren’t exactly full of excuses, and instead largely just admitted to not bothering to show up.
From the Associated Press:
“It was embarrassing for us to come here on our home court and lose a game like this,” Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said. “It wasn’t about losing the game, it was just how we lost the game. We didn’t compete today and it showed out there on the court.”
Embarrassing is an apt description, and the Spurs added a little bit more of it when they had Tim Duncan — a career 69.3 percent free throw shooter — head to the line in the third quarter after Mike Woodson was whistled for a technical foul. Duncan, of course, calmly sank the shot.
The Knicks are just 2-4 now to start the season, while the Spurs remain one of the league’s best after improving their record to 6-1. New York doesn’t need to panic just yet, as the team has been close in its other three losses. But bringing a complete lack of effort to any game is certainly cause for concern.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.
On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.
But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.
Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:
Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.
Stephen Curry might be back sooner than expected. It’s been one week since he suffered the sprained MCL in his right knee that led the Warriors to rule him out for at least two weeks, but head coach Steve Kerr said Saturday that there’s at least an outside chance he could play Tuesday in Game 2 of Golden State’s second-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Via ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:
Obviously, the smart money is on Curry not playing this early in his timetable. But the fact that it’s even on the table would seem to indicate that, barring a setback, he’ll be back for at least some of the series, which tips off Sunday.