Spurs hit Knicks, Lakers slump

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas, March 8 – Tony Parker scored 32 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 118-105 NBA victory over New York on Wednesday, dealing the Knicks their third straight defeat.

Tim Duncan added 17 points for the Spurs, who also got 17 from Manu Ginobili in the Argentine’s second game back after a fortnight out with an abdominal strain.

Carmelo Anthony scored 27 points for the Knicks, who were without injured center Tyson Chandler as well as backup center Jared Jeffries.

Coach Mike D’Antoni opted to shuffle the players he had, starting Iman Shumpert in place of Landry Fields, but the new-look Knicks lineup showed little of the flair that saw them surge before the All-Star break with the emergence of point guard Jeremy Lin.

Lin, whose parents were born in Taiwan, became a global sensation last month for the Knicks, coming off the bench to spark the Knicks to a seven-game win streak with big-scoring, clutch shooting and inspired passing.

But the Knicks have since gone 3-6 and Anthony complained after a defeat at Dallas on Tuesday that he wasn’t getting enough chances to score.

He had his opportunities on Wednesday, but the Knicks were hurt by the absence of Chandler on the defensive end.

Lin scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half. Amare Stoudemire had 18 points and 11 rebounds and D’Antoni said the Knicks need to set aside their frustrations and find a way to win.

“I understand the frustration,” D’Antoni said. “We’ve just got to work through it. It’s a combination of everything.

“We as a team have to find better spots for people. People that have the spots have to play better. I think everybody is a little frustrated. … It’s OK for frustration to set in. But at the same time, let’s get it worked out, let’s figure it out and let’s win some games.”

France’s Parker gave the Knicks little time to figure out anything.

He scored 23 points in the first half as the hot-shooting Spurs built a 58-41 halftime lead.

San Antonio led by as many as 24 before the Knicks put together a 14-2 run, a rally that proved too little too late.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Lakers squandered a 21-point third quarter lead Wednesday en route to a 106-101 NBA loss to the lowly Washington Wizards.

“We didn’t play hard,” said a disgusted Andrew Bynum, who had seven of the Lakers’ 13 turnovers and just one assist.

“I was out there kind of loafing around, having a good time,” he said. “It caught up.”

Since beating championship contenders Miami on Sunday, the Lakers have fallen to two teams who are not in the playoff picture in the Pistons and the Wizards.

In Miami, LeBron James and the Miami Heat turned up the temperature in the third quarter on Wednesday, rallying from a 10-point deficit and going on to beat Atlanta 89-86 and take their NBA record to 30-9.

“That was ugly there for a while,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of his team’s struggle to get their offence firing. “We certainly weren’t in a great flow offensively.

“But we were able to push through, grind out the game and make the finishing plays.”

James led the way with 31 points and 11 rebounds. Dwyane Wade, who missed the second half of Tuesday’s victory over New Jersey with a sore right ankle, made just one of seven attempts from the field in the first half, but finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Heat.

Josh Smith did what he could, leading the Hawks with 23 points. Even the Heat’s surge late in the third only tied the game heading into the final period at 68-68.

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