The New York Knicks (21-18) swept the season series with the San Antonio Spurs (13-26) after achieving a 117-114 victory.
Jalen Brunson set the tone for the Knicks with a career-high 38 points while adding seven rebounds and six assists. With Julius Randle providing 25 points and 13 rebounds in the supporting cast, there was enough to get the win.
“He’s got it all,” Popovich said of Brunson. “He’s got the skill, but he’s also got the toughness. He’s got the basketball IQ to go with it. Just a hell of a competitor.”
Brunson had been sidelined for the Knicks’ previous three games. It was clear that New York had missed his presence as the floor general and as a closer. He recorded three made field goals over the span of the final 3:02 to lead the Knicks down the stretch.
“Whatever it takes to win,” Brunson said. “I could have 38 or I could have three points. If we win that’s all I really care about.”
The Spurs had rallied back after trailing by as many as 13 points and ultimately had a chance to tie the game with 5.7 seconds remaining in regulation. However, Jeremy Sochan was called for a five-second violation after being unable to inbound the ball quickly enough.
It was another strong performance for Keldon Johnson, who finished with 26 points, seven rebounds, and two assists. His typical wingman in the scoring column is Devin Vassell but he was sidelined due to knee soreness. The bench stepped up in a major way with 61 combined points.
The Spurs return to action on Friday when they take on the Detroit Pistons.