Alec Burks scored a season-high 30 points in his return from a three-game absence and the New York Knicks kept up their chase of home-court advantage in the playoffs by rallying to beat the San Antonio Spurs 102-98 on Thursday night.
Julius Randle had 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the Knicks, who are a half-game behind Atlanta as they battle the Hawks and Miami for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
RJ Barrett scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half for the Knicks, who clinched their first postseason berth since 2013 on Wednesday when Boston lost in Cleveland. The Knicks acknowledged the achievement on the overhead video board during a timeout in the first quarter, drawing a cheer from the crowd.
DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points for the Spurs, who failed for the second straight night to clinch the final spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament. They still could secure the spot later Thursday if Sacramento lost to Memphis.
San Antonio opened a 17-point lead in the third quarter but struggled to contain Burks and Barrett.
Burks, who missed three games with a bruised left knee, converted a tiebreaking three-point play that made it 93-90 with 3:16 left. DeRozan made a basket but Burks followed with a 3-pointer for a four-point lead, and he sank a pair of free throws with 7.7 seconds to go after the Spurs cut it to one.
The game was originally scheduled for Feb. 20 but postponed along with three other games on the Spurs' annual rodeo road trip because of coronavirus reasons.
The Knicks got the first basket of the third quarter to go ahead 48-43, but the Spurs outscored them 32-10 over the next nearly eight minutes to open a 75-58 lead when Rudy Gay made three free throws with 3:45 remaining in the period.
Barrett scored 11 points from there to the end of the period as the Knicks cut it to four, then he and Burks opened the fourth with 3-pointers as New York went back ahead 79-77.
Spurs: Host Phoenix on Saturday and Sunday.