NEW YORK: The New York Knicks’s latest tough week ended on a high note on Sunday (Monday in Manila) as Carmelo Anthony and company shocked the San Antonio Spurs 94-90 at Madison Square Garden.
A victory over the second-best team in the NBA was a welcome change of fortune for the Knicks, who are languishing well out of playoff contention in the Eastern Conference amid tensions between Anthony and club president Phil Jackson.
A feud between owner James Dolan and popular ex-Knick Charles Oakley also boiled over in ugly fashion on Wednesday.
Anthony said he was doing his best to ignore the noise.
“I’m out here playing basketball, trying to enjoy the game of basketball,” he said. “Whatever happens outside the basketball court does not concern me.”
Instead, Anthony said, he and his teammates were focused on delivering the kind of consistent performance they’ve had trouble sustaining through four quarters this season.
Anthony scored 25 points and pulled down seven rebounds, Derrick Rose added 18 and Kristaps Porzingis contributed 16 with seven rebounds and four blocked shots to help the Knicks end a four-game skid.
New York came up big defensively, too, holding the Spurs to a season-low 36.3 percent shooting in the upset.
Kawhi Leonard paced the Spurs with 36 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 15, but veteran point guard Tony Parker missed all three of his field goal attempts and finished with zero points and four assists in 31 minutes on the floor.
A jump shot from Leonard cut New York’s lead to 88-86 with 1:43 to play, but Anthony responded with two straight baskets that rebuilt the Knicks’s lead to 92-86 with 33 seconds remaining and the Spurs wouldn’t get the deficit below four points the rest of the way.
Days after Dolan banned Oakley from Madison Square Garden — where the fan favorite was arrested on Wednesday for resisting security personnel who tried to toss him from the arena — support for Oakley was evident among fans, including filmmaker Spike Lee who sat courtside in an Oakley jersey.
Dolan sat Sunday next to Latrell Sprewell, another ex-Knick with whom he’s feuded.
Sprewell called the Oakley incident “disappointing” in a courtside TV interview, saying it was time to “iron out” the situation “and get past it.”
No Love for Cavs on Valentine’s Day
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love underwent an MRI exam on his sore left knee Sunday and the reigning NBA champions said he will miss Tuesday’s game against Minnesota.
Love, a four-time NBA All-Star, experienced pain in Saturday’s 125-109 home victory over Denver and was examined by James Rosneck on Sunday at the Cleveland Clinic.
The 28-year-old frontline spark is expected to undergo additional treatment and be re-evaluated over the next several days.
Love is averaging 20.0 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists for the Cavaliers, who have won five of their past six games and improved to 37-16, the best record in the Eastern Conference and fourth-best in the league overall.
Channing Frye is likely to replace Love in the starting lineup for the Cavaliers, who could opt to bench Love through the break for next Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game.
Cleveland will visit Minnesota on Valentine’s Day and play host to Indiana on Wednesday but after that will not play again until February 23 when New York visits.
Love was named a reserve for the Eastern Conference in the annual All-Star matchup to be played at New Orleans.