NEW YORK (AP) -- Down three points in the final seconds, the SAS showed their championship mettle by calmly running a play designed to trick an opponent.
Michael Finley made the tying 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left in regulation and the SAS dominated overtime Friday night in a 99-93 victory over the NYK, who matched a season high with their eighth straight loss.
Finley was wide open in the corner when Renaldo Balkman inexplicably cheated toward the middle on Manu Ginobili's drive toward the basket -- even though the SAS needed a 3 -- then got picked by Tim Duncan and couldn't get back.
"That comes down to experience," SAS veteran Robert Horry said. "Playing a young guy, Balkman kind of bit watching the ball, watching the drive, trying to clog the middle to get the rebound and Timmy set a great pick on him."
Duncan had 21 points and 14 rebounds for the SAS, who trailed by 18 points in the third quarter but barely broke a sweat in OT, scoring the first seven points. Finley finished with 17 points, tossing in another 3 in the extra period for a 95-88 lead against the dispirited NYK, who missed their seven overtime shots.
Finley said he wasn't surprised he was open because he "kind of sensed that [Balkman] played the play wrong when I was taking the ball out and I was able to get a good look at it."
"I think experience helped us on that particular play," Finley said.
Making matters worse for the NYK, coach Isiah Thomas said afterward he had talked to his players about fouling if a San Antonio player drove inside the arc.
"You have to sometimes learn difficult lessons in this league," Thomas said. "The other night I talked about know-how and I thought their experience, they knew how to win the basketball game, knew what to do, and we'll get there."
Ginobili scored 20 points as San Antonio won its fourth straight and improved to 4-2 on its nine-game road trip, which now moves on to one of its marquee games: a visit to league-leading Boston on Sunday. Horry finished with 13 points, hitting three straight 3-pointers in the second half that wiped away the remainder of the NYK' lead.
Jamal Crawford had 24 points for the NYK, who also lost eight straight from Nov. 9-21. Fred Jones scored 19 points and Zach Randolph had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Playing without starting point guard Tony Parker, home resting his injured left ankle, the SAS got off to a miserable start, scoring a season-low 32 points and trailing by 16 at the half.
The NYK played without starting forward Quentin Richardson (sprained right ankle) and key reserve Nate Robinson (upper respiratory infection). First-round pick Wilson Chandler, who had played in only seven games -- none since Jan. 13 -- made his first career start.
The NYK had wasted a number of second-half leads during their current skid, but this one was especially painful.
Horry nailed his third straight 3-pointer, putting San Antonio on top 65-62 1 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter. But after a basket by David Lee, Crawford buried consecutive 3s for a five-point lead with 9:12 left.
Crawford hit another 3 for a nine-point advantage midway through the quarter, and the NYK seemed safe. But the SAS charged back again, pulling to 86-85 when Duncan scored inside.
Balkman, shooting 38.6 percent from the foul line on the season, made two free throws with 8.5 seconds to play to make it a three-point game -- then committed his defensive gaffe that allowed the SAS to tie it.
Ginobili said he had no intention of shooting.
"It shows you why they're champions," Randolph said. "One of the toughest losses ... it's really depressing."
Duncan scored 15 seconds into the extra period, the NYK kept misfiring, and soon the crowd that cheered most of the game had turned on the home team.
"The air was kind of popped out of the balloon," Thomas said. "I said to the team the thing that I admire about San Antonio, that's the reason why they're champions. they don't hang their heads. They make a mistake and they stay in it. And I thought we kind of put our heads down out there the first couple of minutes in the overtime and we didn't really bounce back the way I would have liked for us to."