NEW YORK (AP) Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and the New York Knicks salvaged the finale of a tumultuous five-game homestand by beating the San Antonio Spurs 94-90 on Sunday.
With Latrell Sprewell and a number of other former Knicks in attendance two days after Charles Oakley was banned, the current team pulled out a defensive performance from its past, limiting the Spurs to 36 percent shooting.
That came just two nights after the Knicks yielded 131 points in a dismal defensive performance against Denver, which came after losses to Cleveland and both Los Angeles teams to start the homestand.
Kawhi Leonard had 36 points for the Spurs (41-13), who had their two-game win streak snapped and failed in their first attempt to secure what would have been an NBA-record 20th consecutive winning season.
The Knicks didn’t let the Spurs reach 70 points until fewer than 8 minutes remained. Then Anthony provided offense when they needed it clinging to a two-point lead, making consecutive baskets to make it 92-86 with 33 seconds remaining.
Anthony’s relationship with Phil Jackson and resulting trade rumors were a constant throughout the homestand, though the fallout from Oakley’s arrest after an altercation with security guards last Wednesday became the bigger story.