San Antonio Spurs at New York Knicks (-1, 206.5)
The New York Knicks' aura of invincibility at Madison Square Garden has been punctured in the past 2 1/2 weeks with three losses in the past five home games. Reversing that trend will not be easy with the red-hot San Antonio Spurs paying a visit on Thursday. The Spurs extended their winning streak to seven games with Wednesday's 117-110 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks and will be out to avenge a four-point home loss to the Knicks on Nov. 15.
New York will be looking to avoid a season-high third straight loss. Despite 45 points from Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks absorbed a 105-100 loss to Portland on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. It was the second 45-point eruption of the season for Anthony, who had missed the previous two games with a knee injury. The loss also marked the long-awaited season debut of forward Amar'e Stoudemire, who had six points and one rebound in 17 minutes off the bench.TV:
7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Southwest (San Antonio), MSG (New York)ABOUT THE SPURS (26-8):
Ageless Tim Duncan had a monster game against Milwaukee with 28 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. Point guard Tony Parker added 23 points and 11 assists, although his six-game streak of shooting at least 50 percent from the floor came to an end. Parker is averaging 23.8 points and nine rebounds over his last four games and has scored at least 20 points in 12 of his last 17. Guard Gary Neal returned to the lineup after missing four games with a calf injury.ABOUT THE KNICKS (21-10):
Easing Stoudemire into the regular rotation is the biggest issue facing New York. The Knicks have no such worries with sixth man J.R. Smith, who is in the midst of his hottest streak of the season. Smith has averaged 25.5 points and recorded a pair of double-doubles in his last six games. Since guard Raymond Felton suffered a fractured right finger, Smith raised his offense another notch, producing games of 27, 28 and 28 points.TRENDS:
*Over is 5-1 in the last six meetings in New York.
* Knicks are 0-5-1 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Spurs are 8-2-2 ATS in their last 12 vs. NBA Atlantic foes.
* Knicks are 0-5-1 ATS in their last six vs. Western Conference opponents.BUZZER BEATERS
1. The Spurs are averaging 111.7 points during their winning streak, which includes four victories of at least 20 points.
2. Despite a season-worst nine points from Anthony, New York erased a 12-point deficit in the final seven minutes in the win over the Spurs in November - New York's first victory in San Antonio since 2003.
3. Duncan has blocked a shot in 20 straight games, the longest active streak in the league.Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets (-7, 203.5)
Two days after ending the Los Angeles Clippers' franchise-record 17-game winning streak, the Denver Nuggets continue their three-game homestand Thursday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Denver handed Los Angeles its first loss since Nov. 26 on Tuesday as six players scored in double figures. The Nuggets have won three of four overall and eight in a row at home, where they are 10-1 on the season.
Minnesota is coming off its third loss in four games, a 106-84 setback to the Jazz in Utah on Wednesday. Kevin Love and Alexey Shved scored 13 points apiece as the Timberwolves shot a season-worst 34.5 percent from the floor. Minnesota has lost four straight on the road and is just 5-10 away from home this campaign.TV:
9 p.m. ET, Fox Sports North (Minnesota), Altitude (Denver)ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (14-14):
Minnesota matched its season low from 3-point range Wednesday as it was just 2-of-17. Shved made both successful shots on seven attempts while Love was 0-for-4 from beyond the arc. Andrei Kirilenko scored 12 points and pulled down his 4,000th career rebound in the second quarter. Love, who entered shooting 31.8 percent on the road, was 4-of-14 against the Jazz and couldn't explain his inaccuracy. "I had great shots. Even before the game, my shot felt great," he said.ABOUT THE NUGGETS (18-15):
After holding the Clippers to 78 points, Denver improved to 14-3 when allowing less than 100 and 7-2 when holding its opponent under 90. The Nuggets rank second in the league with a plus-136 rebound advantage over their opponents. Los Angeles' winning streak is the second-longest one Denver has snapped. The Nuggets defeated Chicago on Feb. 4, 1996 to halt the Bulls' 18-game run. Guard Andre Miller recorded 12 points and 12 assists Tuesday for his 204th career double-double and 18th as a member of the Nuggets. Denver is 16-2 when Miller notches a double-double.TRENDS:
* Timberwolves are 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. NBA Northwest foes.
* Nuggets are 5-0 ATS in their last five home games.
* Over is 5-0 in the last five meetings.
* Under is 5-1 in Timberwolves’ last six overall.BUZZER BEATERS
1. The teams split the first two encounters this season, both of which were played in Minnesota.
2. The Timberwolves have lost 20 of its last 23 meetings with the Nuggets, including five straight in Denver.
3. The Nuggets are 6-1 when two or more players record a double-double in the same game.