Overall Game Grade: A
The Knicks' bench was outstanding Thursday night. Pablo Prigioni dished out nine assists, some of them dazzling, and also chipped in with six points and three steals. He truly was the most consistent player on New York in this one, making his presence felt on both ends of the floor. Steve Novak also had a great game, drilling five threes, three of them coming in the fourth quarter. Perhaps most importantly, Amar'e Stoudemire showed signs of life. Although he had four shots blocked, he looked strong in the paint, scoring 10 points and earning himself four free throws.
Novak hit three more threes and Prigioni continued to make a huge impact, throwing some incredible passes and playing some more great D. Stoudemire continued to try to get himself going, and the good news is that his legs do look strong out there.
Another great quarter for Prigioni. He played some more tenacious defense, and while he wasn't scoring the basketball, he did a great job handling the offense. Through three quarters, his impact was much greater than that of Kidd's. Also, Stoudemire is starting to get into the flow of things little by little. If only some of those shots that keep rimming out for him would stay down.
The Knicks' bench did a very nice job during the second period, with Chris Copeland providing some solid energy off the pine and Prigioni doing a very admirable job handling point-guard duties (how about five first-half assists for the Argentinian). Novak did his usual thing by canning a couple of threes, and Amar'e was able to hit his second shot of the night. What stuck out the most was Copeland's defense on Parker. The rookie did an incredible job limiting the Spurs' floor general, using his length to force him into some tough shots.
Stoudemire came into this game and hit his first field-goal attempt, but he looked very discombobulated after that, making sloppy post moves and having trouble handling the basketball. Prigioni was able to come in and play some feisty defense and throw a beautifully placed lob to Chandler for an alley-oop dunk.