Derek Fisher wanted his players to take a good look at the Spurs, how they execute and play together, and dream of becoming them some day.
But Tuesday night, the Knicks were better than the reigning NBA champs.
The Knicks stunned the Spurs and enjoyed their best win in an otherwise miserable season. The Knicks outlasted San Antonio, 104-100, in overtime at Madison Square Garden.
The victory was impressive on so many levels. For one, the Knicks (14-53) just returned from a five-game Western road trip Monday. The Knicks also erased a 13-point third-quarter deficit to get the surprising win.
Langston Galloway scored 22 points and Alexey Shved had 21, including a steal and the game-icing free throws in the closing seconds of OT. Lou Amundson added 12 points and 17 rebounds.
Tony Parker had 21 points and Tim Duncan 17 points for San Antonio (41-25).
In the overtime, Shved was fouled shooting a three. He made two from the line to give the Knicks a 100-99 lead with 1:44 remaining. Tony Parker missed his trademark teardrop, but the Knicks couldn't convert on their end.
The Knicks appeared to force a turnover on the next possession, but the replay showed the ball went out off Lance Thomas' foot and the call was reversed. On the ensuing play, North Babylon's Danny Green was open for a three-pointer but he missed it.
Jason Smith was fouled and made one of two free throws to put the Knicks up 101-99 with 16.1 seconds left. Duncan had a chance to tie it from the line with nine seconds left, but he made the first and missed the second. Amundson rebounded and was fouled, and he too shot 1-for-2 with eight seconds to go.
The Knicks needed a stop to seal it and Shved slapped away Duncan's pass to Leonard and came up with the seal. Shved then iced the game.
Fisher has been preaching having a team-first attitude since the day he became Knicks coach and no one exemplifies being a team more than the Spurs. Their model, to a certain extent, is what Fisher believes the Knicks should follow.
"Becoming great, being the best requires you to be extraordinary at the ordinary and that's basically what the Spurs are," Fisher said. "They're great at doing basic things night in and night out.
"I think they're bringing some cool back to selfless basketball. Those are the things we're trying to instill in our guys. We won't be the Spurs; we'll be the Knicks. But that's kind of who we want to become: a selfless team that's all about the team.
"I just think they found a way to build some habits that very few people can sustain over the course of one decade and into another," Fisher said. "But it's possible and that's what you try to tell guys. It's possible to be that way. They're doing it. I've been on teams that have done it. So you just have to be willing to make the commitment to be there."
Notes & quotes: Jose Calderon, who missed his 11th game because of a sore left Achilles, was re-evaluated by doctors. Fisher said "the next best steps" were being discussed and there could be an update today. Calderon felt pain after working out Sunday . . . Tim Hardaway Jr. (sprained right wrist) and Cleanthony Early (sprained left ankle) didn't play.