LOS ANGELES: Kawhi Leonard scored 19 points and grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs beat the New York Knicks 100-99 for their 22nd consecutive victory at home this season.
The win at San Antonio’s AT&T Center was the seventh straight overall for the Spurs and allowed them to stay unbeaten at home. They turned up the heat at the start of the fourth quarter and then held on for the victory, which extended their winning streak to 31 games dating to the final nine home games of 2014-15.
First place San Antonio led 79-74 after three quarters, but began the final quarter with seven straight points to give them some breathing room in a contest that included eight lead changes.
New York made a late push in the last five-and-a-half minutes, slashing the lead to one point on Kristaps Porzingis’ alley-oop dunk with 32 seconds to play.
San Antonio guard Tony Parker missed a shot with 16 seconds left opening the door for the Knicks to shoot for the victory. But New York guard Jose Calderon’s three-point attempt with 0.08 seconds to go rattled off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
“We got a good shot, and that was the most important thing, no matter who took the shot,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said.
San Antonio is just the second Western
Conference team in history to open a season 22-0 at home, joining Portland, which won its first 26 home games in 1977-78.
The Spurs got 16 points apiece from reserve guard Manu Ginobili, forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Parker.
Rookie Porzingis paced the Knicks attack. He tallied a game-high 28 points with a variety of shots and pulled down 11 rebounds.
“[Porzingis] is a hell of a young player,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
Forward Carmelo Anthony added 20 points and 12 rebounds for New York while center Robin Lopez scored 12 points, reserve guard Langston Galloway scored 11, and forward Lance Thomas had 10 points.
Cavs win sixth straight
J.R. Smith scored a season-high 27 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their sixth straight game with a 125-99 victory over the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center arena in Minnesota.
Forward Kevin Love added 20 points and nine rebounds. Love was playing just his second game in Minnesota since a trade that saw him go to Cleveland for Canadian star Andrew Wiggins in 2014.
Wiggins led the Timberwolves with 35 points. It is the fifth time in his career he has scored at least 30 and the second time in three games against the Cavaliers, who selected him with the first pick in the 2014 NBA entry draft.
“I think both sides are happy with what happened,” Cavaliers star LeBron James said. “We’re happy with having Kev and I know they’re happy with having Wiggins, so that’s all that matters.”
Minnesota has lost four straight games and nine of its last 10 overall.
Diving Davis injures back
Indiana Pacers center Ian Mahinmi scored 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked a career-high four shots as his team overcame a season-high 24 turnovers to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 91-86 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.
The Pelicans played most of the game without all-star forward Anthony Davis, who injured his lower back diving into the courtside seats for a loose ball three minutes into the contest.