3 weeks into the season, Knicks still unbeaten

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3 weeks into the season, Knicks still unbeaten

From Comcast SportsNetSAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Instead of watching their season-opening winning streak come to a messy end, the New York Knicks served notice that they can't be counted out in the fourth quarter.Raymond Felton scored 25 points and New York stayed undefeated by rallying late to beat the San Antonio Spurs 104-100 on Thursday night.Trailing by 12 with 7 minutes left in the game, the Knicks (6-0) closed on a 22-11 run to remain the NBA's only unbeaten team."It shows me that this team is for real," New York coach Mike Woodson said. "We beat a great team tonight -- a well-coached team. It's the first time I've ever won in San Antonio, so I feel pretty good about that. It's tough to win here."J.R. Smith added 17 points, Jason Kidd had 14 and Tyson Chandler 13 for the Knicks, who snapped a nine-game skid in San Antonio. Felton, Smith and Kidd alone outscored the Spurs 26-25 in the fourth.Tony Parker led San Antonio (7-2) with 19 points and 12 assists. Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and Tim Duncan had 14 points and 14 rebounds.San Antonio grabbed its largest lead at 89-77 with 7:14 remaining when Tiago Splitter's free throw completed a three-point play. That capped a 13-point run by Splitter in the fourth after he failed to score while playing just a few minutes through the first three periods."He had some great minutes in there," Duncan said. "He got himself rolling there for a little while and kind of got us on the board."Woodson called a timeout before Splitter shot the free throw, and the chaos that ensued was exactly what the Knicks needed."I called one timeout, and it was kind of disarray in the timeout," Woodson said. "I was screaming and they were screaming, but we were still in the game."Kidd then sparked the rally with a pair of 3-pointers that pulled the Knicks to 89-85 with 5:49 remaining."He does it every single time," Chandler said. "I said it last game, whether it is a steal or a 3-pointer or something (else), he seems to always get it done."Smith and Kidd hit consecutive 3s to give the Knicks a 100-95 lead with a minute left.San Antonio missed seven of its last nine shots and had two turnovers in the final 2 minutes. The Spurs had won 18 of 19 regular-season games against New York.The late defensive push offset an uncharacteristic start by the Knicks.After holding their first five opponents to 87.8 points per game, the Knicks allowed the Spurs to set a quick tone when Danny Green opened with consecutive backdoor layups off assists from Parker and Duncan.The Knicks kept pace behind Felton, who had nine points and two assists in the opening period while shooting 3 for 5 from the field. Felton's first 3-pointer gave the Knicks a 29-24 lead with 2 minutes left in the first period.Steve Novak and Rasheed Wallace hit back-to-back 3s to extend New York's lead to 45-38 with 7:21 left in the first half. New York opened 6 for 7 on 3s.DeJuan Blair smiled at Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and gave him a double fist bump before taking the court for his first start of the season. The move paid off. Blair had two points and an assist while denying Carmelo Anthony the ball defensively and hounding the Knicks All-Star into missing his only attempt in the opening 8 minutes.Anthony appeared frustrated by the lack of touches, shaking his head and laughing when the Knicks rotated the ball away from him late in the second quarter.Anthony got aggressive after that possession, taking four shots in the final 3 minutes of the first half. He was blocked twice by Duncan under the basket. The first block resulted in Anthony's own follow-up basket and the second led to a 3-pointer by Green with 0.8 seconds that gave the Spurs a 57-55 lead at halftime.Anthony finished with nine points on 3-for-12 shooting from the field."There was a point in the game where I huddled everybody up and said use me as a decoy. And it worked out there," Anthony said. "Pop did a great job of not even double-teaming me, but triple-teaming me; every time I touched the ball, making me see three guys."NOTES:Spurs guard Gary Neal missed the game after cutting his right index finger while lifting his luggage before Tuesday night's game against the Lakers. Neal was able to play 8 minutes in San Antonio's 84-82 win over Los Angeles, but the cut grew worse. ... Including the playoffs, San Antonio has won 23 of 26 games at home. ... Duncan had his 736th career double-double, extending his lead among active players.

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

CHICAGO — Had a half-dozen other things gone differently Wednesday night, the Giants might have spent the hour after the game shrugging off a blowout loss or celebrating one of the best at-bats of the year. 

Three innings after the game was nearly lost for good, Mac Williamson saw 12 pitches from Wade Davis, who entered with a perfect ERA in 19 appearances, fouling eight of them off before slamming a two-run homer to right. The play came with some comedic value, as Williamson nearly passed Eduardo Nuñez on the bases. It also came with some historic value, as it snapped a streak of 19 consecutive solo shots that was two shy of the MLB record. 

The homer was not, however, the talking point after the game. A few minutes after Williamson went deep, Joe Panik was tossing his bat into the grass in frustration over a called third strike that ended the game and clinched a 5-4 win for the Cubs. Ten minutes after that, Bruce Bochy watched the highlight and tossed his phone onto his desk. 

“It’s a shame to end on that call, it really is,” Bochy said. “We had him on fumes and that’s not a strike. But they got the call and that’s it.”

The Giants were left with their third loss in four games, a run that has halted their momentum. They again are 11 games back in the National League West, with so many nights like this one: A comeback seemed real, but the mistakes were too much to overcome. 

Williamson, in talking about his homer, pivoted and pointed to a blunder of his own. In a tied game in the fifth, Miguel Montero hit a single to right with Addison Russell on first. The speedy shortstop watched Williamson as the ball rolled into the outfield, and when Williamson didn’t charge as hard as he otherwise might, Russell took off for third. The throw was perfect, but late. Russell scored on a fly ball. 

“The home run is really cool but it would have been a lot cooler if I hadn’t have made the mistake earlier in the game and given them the extra run,” Williamson said, explaining that he has tried to focus on being smooth to the ball and not rushing on fast outfields. In the past, rushing has led to bobbles and extra bases. 

Another costly sequence came in the eighth. After the Giants left the bases loaded in the top of the inning, Steven Okert gave up a triple to Jason Heyward, who scored on a sacrifice fly. Okert, so good when he was first called up, has been less effective of late. 

“We’ve got to get our lefties going,” Bochy said. “We gave them a run there and that put it at three and that’s just enough to cover it for them.”

Truth be told, the Giants were probably lucky to even have worries at that point. The wind blew a three-run Heyward homer inches foul in the sixth, and while the Giants grumbled about the final call of the game, an earlier call on Heyward for running inside the base path took a Cubs run off the board and killed a rally. It was correct by the letter of the law, but one you rarely see. The Giants escaped, but they wouldn’t come all the way back, despite Williamson’s late push. 

The young outfielder has been looking to make an impact since coming back up on the last homestand. He knew how tough Davis has been. 

“He’s been the best in the game this year and the numbers speak for themselves,” Williamson said. “He has phenomenal stuff. You get in the box and figure you’ve got nothing to lose, battle as tough as you can.”

Williamson fouled off good strikes and tantalizing balls. When he lofted a 2-2 pitch toward right, he took off out of the box. The ball carried just over the wall, and Williamson didn’t look up until he rounded third. That’s when Phil Nevin started yelling at him to slow down. Nuñez, who had a tight hamstring, turned and told Williamson to slow down.

“I kinda blacked out for a second there,” Williamson said. 

“I was like, ‘Bro, it’s a homer — just jog,’” Nunez said.

The moment temporarily sent a rush through the dugout. Minutes later, the Giants were left livid over a game that probably shouldn’t have been so close, but nonetheless was right there for them to steal. 

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — The Giants will need a win on getaway day to clinch their first winning road trip.

Wednesday's comeback attempt fell just short, as the Giants scored two in the ninth but lost to the Cubs 5-4. Since taking the first two games in St. Louis, they have dropped three of four, falling 11 games back of the Rockies in the division.

Here are five things to know from the coldest Giants game of the year … 

— Mac Williamson fouled off eight pitches before going the opposite way against Wade Davis, who entered with a 0.00 ERA in 19 appearances. The two-run homer ended a run of 19 consecutive solo shots by the Giants, two short of their own MLB record. It was the first homer off Davis in two years. 

— The sixth inning was one of the stranger escapes we’ve seen from a pitcher this season. With two on and one out, Jason Heyward blasted a Matt Moore pitch right down the line and it looked like it would give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. The wind blew the ball a couple of feet foul. Heyward then topped one down the line and Moore’s throw bounced away from first, allowing a run to score. But the umpires called — correctly — Heyward out for running inside the line. It’s a call you rarely see. Moore then struck out Addison Russell to keep what could have easily been a 6-2 or 4-2 game at 3-2. 

— Before the first game of this series, a Giant asked in the dugout, “I wonder what some of the Cubs’ numbers would look like at our place?” Anthony Rizzo is a .159 hitter with no homers in 18 career games at AT&T Park, but he had no issues on a night when conditions were worse than they are most nights in San Francisco. Rizzo homered off Moore in his first two at-bats. 

— Rizzo will occasionally put a bunt down to beat the shift — he had an accidental bunt in his third at-bat — which the Giants have long wanted Brandon Belt to do. Belt pushed one away from the shift in the sixth, and even though it was too close to pitcher Kyle Hendricks, the throw was off and Belt reached second. One of those a week would open up a few more holes. 

— This lineup has made a habit of making mediocre and downright bad pitchers look good, and the actual good ones are taking advantage, too. A night after Jon Lester recorded his first complete game of the year, Hendricks threw seven innings for the first time.