If the Knicks needed further proof of how far they have to go, the Warriors provided a somber reminder last night at MSG. New York fought on even terms in the first half for a one point lead at halftime (64-63). The defending champs then went off in the third quarter, outscoring the Knicks 39-18 on the strength of repeated three-pointers from Steph Curry (21 points) and Klay Thompson (26 points) to take a 125-111 win. This was an expected domination, but New York’s focus on youth development provided some encouraging backcourt moments.
WHAT GOT INTO MUDIAY?: Once again, Emmanuel Mudiay got the start at point guard. Surprisingly, his outside shot was cooking in the first half to the tune of 3 three-pointers in the first half. In 31 minutes, he scored 20 points (8/15, 3/5 from 3) and dished out 7 assists. When his shot is going, it helps tremendously in spacing the floor and allowing for other guys to get open shots.
Unfortunately, when the Warriors upped their second half defense, Mudiay came back down to earth. I’m not big on PG’s that can’t shoot consistently. For me to have any interest in Mudiay staying past this season, we need to see a consistent shooting efforts like this in the next 20+ games.
NTILIKINA FINDING THE GROOVE: Even if Frank ends up being our future PG, I feel this time playing off-guard is proving essential to his NBA development. It’s forcing him to look for his shot and not defer on drives. He shot 50% (6/12) in 28 minutes, making this one of his better shooting performances this year. He had a few defensive blunders when trying to deal with GSW’s ball movement, but that’s expected when facing arguably the best passing team in the league.
BURKE’S FINE PLAY CONTINUES: Trey Burke’s Allen Iverson impersonation continued in the first half with him actually outplaying Curry. He took the former MVP off the dribble several times for dazzling drive and jumpers. His 18 points on 8/15 shooting was strong, but Curry woke up in the second half and exploited him on PnR and pullups, goading Burke into a four-point play and several demoralizing threes in that back-breaking third quarter run.
WE NEED 3-PT SHOOTERS!: Games like this show how badly we’re behind the times when it comes to outside shooting. The Knicks finished 10/25 from behind the arc while the Warrior hits 15 threes, essentially accounting for the point disparity. When Lance Thomas (3/4) and Mudiay (3/5) end up being your best shooters, it says a lot about your team’s ability to compete.
The Knicks get an extended break until Friday when they begin a West Coast trip against the Clippers.