NEW YORK – The New York Knicks crushed the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday with improved defense and, perhaps, an assist from a Madison Square Garden waitress.
We’ve seen players tumble into cameramen under the basket before or get hurt when diving into the crowd, but this is a new one.
With a little less than 3 1/2 minutes to go in the first quarter, the Spurs’ Stephen Jackson missed a corner 3-pointer and took a step backward, where he collided with a waitress squatting just outside the sideline, just in front of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was sitting courtside across from the Knicks’ bench.
Jackson turned his right ankle on the play and couldn’t get back on defense on the ensuing possession, which resulted in a wide-open three for Carmelo Anthony that tied the game at 17. The Spurs were forced to call a timeout and it took Jackson a few minutes to make his way back to the locker room.
Jackson didn’t return to the game, but the waitress was seemingly unaffected. Bloomberg went on to eat a box of popcorn in the second quarter, but did not consume any extra large sodas and did not return to his seat after halftime.
At this point, it’s unknown if Jackson will miss time. The Spurs are 12-3 without Jackson, who previously missed time with a fractured pinkie and who didn’t speak to reporters after the game. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich didn’t comment on the bizarre circumstances of his team’s latest injury.
“I’m going to look at it,” Popovich said. “I didn’t see it.”
Really, Jackson’s injury had nothing to do with the game’s result, which was more about the Knicks’ improved defense and the Spurs’ fatigue. They were playing their fourth game in five nights.
“Too low on fuel, and their defense was too good,” Popovich said. “Bad combination, and then they made shots, which makes it even worse.”