NBA: Knicks rout Spurs to snap 18-game home losing skid, Ross takes Magic past former team Raptors

New York Knicks' Damyean Dotson during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden on Feb 24, 2019.
New York Knicks' Damyean Dotson during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden on Feb 24, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS, AFP) - Damyean Dotson drained a career-high eight three-pointers and scored a team-high 27 points on Sunday night (Feb 24), as the New York Knicks ended a franchise-record 18-game home losing streak by beating the San Antonio Spurs 130-118.

The Knicks, who had not won at home since beating the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks 136-134 in overtime on Dec 1, came within one loss of tying the NBA record for the longest home losing streak, which was established by the Dallas Mavericks during the 1993-94 season.

The streak-busting win came without much stress or suspense.

The Knicks, who took the lead for good late in the first quarter, led by as many as 23 in the third quarter and never allowed the Spurs to get closer than eight in the fourth quarter.

Kevin Knox (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Mitchell Robinson (15 points, 14 rebounds) each had double-doubles for the Knicks, who won for just the fifth time in the last 37 games, a stretch that included a franchise single-season record 18 straight losses between Jan 7 and Feb 13.

Dennis Smith Jr had 19 points and 13 assists, Emmanuel Mudiay scored 19 points and Lance Thomas added 16 points for New York. Robinson also had five blocks.

At 12-48, the Knicks need to win five of their final 22 games to avoid "surpassing" the 2014-15 team, who finished with a franchise-worst 17-65 record.

It's major," guard Smith said. "I'm glad that we could get it tonight and just give the fans something to see."

DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points for the Spurs, who have lost six of seven but remained tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for seventh place in the Western Conference by virtue of the Clippers' 123-96 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Both teams are one game ahead of the ninth-placed Sacramento Kings.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points for the Spurs, while Bryn Forbes scored 15 points. Jakob Poeltl had 12 points and nine rebounds off the bench, while Rudy Gay added 10 points.

Knox's three-pointer with 1:01 left in the first quarter snapped a tie and gave the Knicks the lead for good at 29-26. New York went ahead by double digits for the first time at 50-40 on Mudiay's three-pointer with 6:05 left in the second quarter.

Dotson scored eight points in a 16-4 third quarter run that extended the Knicks' lead to 90-67. The Spurs answered with their own 16-4 run to end the quarter and got within eight points six times in the fourth quarter.

But New York punctuated the long-awaited win in the final minute, when Smith fired the ball off the backboard to set up a thunderous dunk by Robinson.

Elsewhere, Terrence Ross torched his former team for a game-high 28 points and centre Nikola Vucevic finished with 23 points and 12 assists, as the Orlando Magic beat the Toronto Raptors 113-98.

Ross, who played over four seasons in Toronto, came off the bench to spark the Magic. "He's been great," Vucevic said of Ross. "When he scores for us like that, it just gives us a huge advantage."

The Magic, who were coming off a disappointing loss to the Chicago Bulls at home on Friday, snapped the Raptors' winning streak at seven games.

In Denver, Colorado, the Nuggets cruised past the Clippers behind strong performances from Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap.

Jokic had 22 points and 16 rebounds, and Millsap had 21 points and 16 boards for the Nuggets, who won their fourth straight.

After leading the charge, Jokic went to the bench two minutes into the third quarter after getting hit with his fourth foul.

Their combined 43 points helped the Nuggets improve to 26-4 at home and pull within a game of the Western Conference-leading Golden State Warriors.