New York Knicks (13-55) vs. Spurs (39-29)

When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., AT&T Center

TV: KENS 5, 7 p.m.

Last season: Spurs won series 2-0

All-time series record: Spurs lead 52-40

Season series: Knicks lead 1-0

Last meeting: Knicks 130, Spurs 118, Feb. 24, New York

Knicks' last game: Lost to Pacers 103-98, Tuesday, Indianapolis

Spurs' last game: Beat Mavericks 112-105, Tuesday, Dallas

Knicks' last 10 games/streak: 2-8, lost seven

Spurs' last 10 games/streak: 7-3, won six

Knicks' injury/inactive report: Forward Mario Hezonja (contused left leg), probable; forward Isaiah Hicks (G League assignment), out; guard Frank Ntilikina (sore groin), out; guard Dennis Smith Jr. (sore lower back), questionable.

Spurs' injury/inactive report: Forward Drew Eubanks (G League assignment), out; forward Rudy Gay (illness), probable; forward Ben Moore (G League assignment), out; point guard Dejounte Murray (torn right anterior cruciate ligament), out.

Notable: Friday night's game will be broadcast by KENS 5, the official TV station of the San Antonio Spurs. The pregame show starts at 7 . . . The Spurs, who open a four-game homestand Friday night, are seventh in the Western Conference standings. San Antonio has the same record as No. 6 seed Utah, but the Jazz own the tiebreaker . . . The Silver and Black are a half-game ahead of the No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers (39-30) for the last playoff spot in the West . . . If the postseason started Friday, the Spurs would play No. 2 seed Denver . . . The Silver and Black have 14 games left in the regular season, eight at home and six on the road . . . Friday night's game is the front end of a back-to-back for San Antonio, which hosts Portland on Saturday. The homestand continues against defending league champion Golden State on Monday and ends Wednesday against Miami . . . The Spurs are the only NBA team with an all-time winning record against every team in the league. They lead the series with the Knicks 52-40 and are 35-11 against them in San Antonio.

GAME PREVIEW

SAN ANTONIO – The Spurs shouldn’t lack for incentive when they open a four-game homestand Friday night against the New York Knicks.

The Knicks are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings and have won only 13 games this season, but one of those victories was against San Antonio last month in the Big Apple.

In one of their worst games of the season, the Silver and Black fell to New York 130-118 in the next-to-last game of their annual rodeo road trip. The Knicks beat Orlando two nights later for rare back-to-back wins but have lost seven straight since then.

Meanwhile, the Spurs have won six in a row, their longest win streak of the season, since going 1-7 on the rodeo trip. San Antonio is coming off a 112-105 road victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Friday night’s game will be the front end of a back-to-back for the Silver and Black, who host Portland on Saturday.

DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge each hit 11 of 18 field-goal attempts and finished with 33 and 28 points, respectively, in Dallas. Steadily improving point guard Derrick White had 23 points and Davis Bertans scored 11 off the bench.

BKN Spurs point guard Derrick White goes up for a shot against the Bucks
Spurs point guard Derrick White is averaging 10.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists in his second season with San Antonio.
Photo by Antonio Morano (bit.ly/XR79FT) / Special to KENS5.com 

Although the Mavs scored more than 100 points, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was generally pleased with the team’s defense, which has improved in the season’s stretch run.

“They scored 105,” Popovich said. “That’s good if we can keep it around 100. That is difficult to do in the league these days so if you’re in that vicinity, that’s pretty good especially if you are on the road. We just didn’t shoot very well from three. We ended up fouling a lot, so that hurt.

“They (Spurs) had a really good all-around defensive effort. A little too much penetration, obviously. It’s tough to win on the road in the NBA. Even though we didn’t shoot well, didn’t shoot many free throws, we did a good job.”

The Silver and Black shot 52.4 percent (43-82) from the field but made only 8 of 22 three-pointers. They went 18 of 18 at the free-throw line.

White had another outstanding game on both ends of the court, hitting 10 of 16 shots, dishing out seven assists and finishing with three steals.

“I never take it for granted, because this year we haven’t had that,” Popovich said of White’s contributions at point guard. “He has become a very valuable player and has progressed quickly in a short time as much as anyone I have ever seen. His confidence level and his ability to command the respect of his teammates has been great.”

White, a second-year pro, was thrust into the starting lineup after Dejounte Murray sustained a season-ending knee injury in the preseason.

BKN Spurs center Jakob Poeltl goes up for a shot against the Bucks
Spurs center Jakob Poeltl, going up for a shot in Sunday's 121-114 home win over the Milwaukee Bucks, has improved steadily throughout the season.
Photo by Antonio Morano (bit.ly/XR79FT) / Special to KENS5.com 

Asked if he was surprised with White's poise and development, veteran guard DeMar DeRozan said: “At this point, no, because he has been doing it at a high level. He played a big game on both ends guarding the best player on the other team.

"The things he has been doing offensively have been great. So, it’s not surprising. It’s always fun to see.”

So what was DeRozan’s takeaway on the road win over the Mavs?

“Consistency,” he said. “We have been, pretty much, consistent. That was kind of always our struggle. But, you can see the consistency.”

DeRozan said winning close games on the road helps a team prepare for the playoffs.

“It gives us the confidence to show that, you know, ‘Let’s go out on the road and make it fun for us when it is a challenge.’” he said. “Understand how to pull these games out. This is just as important as any other game. Going into the playoffs, you have got to have that type of mentality of being resilient and understanding how to pull out wins.”

The Spurs have 14 games left on their schedule, eight at home and six on the road. They have won eight in a row at the AT&T Center, where they are 26-7 this season. San Antonio is 13-22 on the road.

After playing New York and Portland, the Silver and Black host defending league champion Golden State on Monday and Miami on Wednesday.